The Amsterdam-based Latvian artist’s Evita Vasiļjeva’s solo-exhibition Gut House on the Print Level comprises robust and fragile, seemingly moving, sculptures that have been carried over from the studio to the exhibition space, among them information disseminating devices cast in plaster, large scale prints, metal wickerwork article and pieces inspired by car interior rubber floor mats.
Conversation in a temporary studio
October 3rd, 2016
Epicurus: The atoms are in continual motion through all eternity. Some of them rebound to a considerable distance from each other, while others merely oscillate in one place when they chance to have got entangled or to be enclosed by a mass of other atoms shaped for entangling. This is because each atom is separated from the rest by void, which is incapable of o ering any resistance to the rebound; while it is the solidity of the atom which makes it rebound aer a collision, however short the distance to which it rebounds, when it nds itself imprisoned in a mass of entangling atoms.
Zane Onckule: One part of the exhibition title is Gut House on the Print Level. “Print” in this case, may denote both press publications or press, as in “to press”, if we mean well, then also the abdominal press, referring to anatomy, which is interesting as internal organs regularly appear in your work. If we are of the same mind regarding bodily presence, what spacetime are we talking about? Are these relics of the past or apocalypse-experienced canisters, some post-human monuments?
Robert Smithson: The works of many of these artists celebrate what… the physicist calls “entropy” or “energy-drain”. They bring to mind the Ice Age rather than Golden Age, and would most likely conrm Vladimir Nabokov’s observation that, “the future is but the obsolete in reverse.”
Evita Vasijeva: Works between the past and possible future. The uncertainty of time is furthered by the roughness of the sculptures, this sensitive brutalism.
Z. O.: And over this robust, exposed body colour is applied like make-up on a rarely groomed face. This choice seems very tting – oen gentle pastel tones. Is their aim to soen the overall impression, or to distract from something?
E. V.: The colour choice and usage di ers. Sometimes, I use it to emphasize that a decision is le halfway. Then I paint the works only partially, to indicate that I have doubts and that I openly embrace them. For example, I paint a piece halfway pink. I try to include the feelings that arise during the working process, and instinctively utilize them further in the material.
Z. O.: You partake in the creation of your work from start to nish; there is almost no division of labour. Working clothes, dirty hands, time spent in the studio. Do you consider the economic or political gesture of making work in such a way? With today’s post-studio, computer oriented condition, such a question is not out of place.
E. V.: Yes, I’m a serious proletariat – I weld and corrugate…
Kafka: These were tasks that might well have been le to a mechanic, but the officer performed them with great zeal, whether because he was a devoted admirer of the apparatus or because of other reasons the work could be entrusted to no one else.
E. V.: …I have to be in the space, I have to look at the wall, have to at least drink that coffee, as I don’t smoke anymore. The work comes from some inner state, from the state that I am in during the day, on the street, that which I have an aspiration to comprehend. Currently, and with this exhibition, I have an interest in understanding the inability to pass on information. And thus my thoughts, and in the case of this exhibition, also the production of the work itself, is assisted by a printer. Its purpose is to copy something, to pass it on, but in my case the work also somehow reproduces itself. A viewer receives something, but not in a textual format.
Janis Taurens: Yet, this way of working (production) also holds political signicance. Therefore the artist, according to Western Marxist theory, is the producer, and thus we can discuss the various types of production and ideologies (general, aesthetic, of the author) what inuences him. At the beginning, Donald Judd created his own “boxes” or together with his father, aerwards a workforce produced his work, and later components were ordered from a factory in Switzerland.
E. V.: Whenever I order some component, I like to be present… if I see that something is becoming too systematic, I say… no, and we stop halfway.
Z. O.: Such an intuitive critique of the system.
E.V.: Yes, perhaps.
J. T.: That, which can be bought, is immediately a commodity. Today, evidently conceptual criticism of consumerism of the 60s-70s is also being sold. (And the critique of this criticism states that conceptual art was easier to be sold, for instance, Seth Siegelaub’s exhibition Xerox Book only existed in the format of a catalogue. It’s cheaper that way.) Z. O.: In the context of this region, we have always imagined the art market as the master of the game, more than actually experienced it, or fully grasped its inuence and power; given that the rapid transition and mastering of market laws never took place in the early 90s.
Evita Vasiļjeva (born in 1985) is a Netherlands-based Latvian artist. Graduated from the Fine Arts program at the Amsterdam Gerrit Rietveld Academie (in 2012), worked at the artist residency De Ateliers (2014-2016), Amsterdam. Latest solo-exhibitions: Nothing Lost, Nothing Found, Gallery 427, Riga (2016); Form X, V240, Amsterdam (2016) and Parallel to Vertical, Kim? Contemporary Arts Centre, Riga (2013); group exhibitions: Potlach, De Ateliers graduate exhibition, Amsterdam (2016); A Bigger Peace, a Smaller Peace, the Latvian Museum of Railway History in Riga (2015); Lily’s Pool, Art in General, New York (2015), New Participants, De Ateliers, Amsterdam (2014), Aspen-Kemmern, Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga (2014); Vortex, Project Space Garage, Moscow (2014), NF Presents: from A to Be to SEE to D, Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga (2014), Monograms, Vita Kuben Gallery, Umeå (2014); Indian Summer, Gallery Fons Welters, Amsterdam (2013).
Sarah Boulton, Marta Trektere, Arita Varzinska, Zane Onckule, Kaspars Groševs, Diāna Strēle, Jana Kaļgajeva, Aleksandrs Vasiļjevs, Mārtiņš Locs, Artūrs Vīksna, Jānis Kārkliņš, Dita Birkenšteina, Edgars Murāns, VKKF, De Ateliers