Interview with Anita Somrová

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by & No Comments

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&: Anita, how often do you smoke weed and what do you get from it? Does it connect to your work in any way?

A: Hey, I like to smoke, sometimes every day. Even because of the Universe. Things often shift when you’re drunk or stoned, so you can then gather the courage or an impulse comes; it’s often connected to music as well. 

&: Who, or what, do you consider to be your teacher when it comes to your work?

A: Chronologically, it would be Jeff Koons, Pierre et Gilles, Kenneth Anger, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, plus, of course, the pop-cultural and sub-cultural sources I draw from. The video for ScreenSaverGallery is inspired by the pathetic kitsch of Mariah Carey. I don’t mean that in a negative sense, I like her.  

&: What are you reading right now, do you read texts on art, or do you avoid them?

A: I’m reading the Harry Potter series for the fourth time.

&: Your piece in SSG is, compared to what we are used to seeing here, more visual than conceptual, or it becomes conceptual and physical only when you get to read it visually. How would you define beauty for us?

A: Beauty? That is an almost utopian love. Eternity, Escape, Obsession. The name of the exhibition hints at perfume names. Recently, I’ve been fascinated by the visuals of perfume advertisements, the artificiality combined with the body. In the Escape Obsession video, my favourite motif of waning and tearing apart appears.

&: We subtitled your work as “soap opera”, do you agree? Your work usually relates to narration. What attracts you to film, storytelling and development over time in general?

A: The title “soap opera” is great. We all love stories. I personally enjoy it when it is a closed world, when the situation is looped or stopped and expressed in textile installations. Some move slightly due to the airflow or the presence of people.

&: One of the problems as well as inspirations coming out of your work is the pop-cultural language of mainstream trends. Is there a political reason for this? In other words, do you have a specific opinion of pop-culture or is it some kind of an omnipresent curtain that cannot be lifted so it must be dealt with in the work? Or is it a flowing visual energy that you do not judge, that you use because it is a part of our visual culture? Or something else completely? 

A: All that was mentioned in the question is more or less present in there. I like the curtain metaphor. I used to work with fog that can be understood in a similar way. A curtain is a spectacle; the video in ScreenSaverGallery is a fluid hypnotic matter like a swamp, psychedelic dunes like bodies.

&: Are you satisfied with the role of curator and your involvement in the shop window gallery Makemake that you created? What impulse triggered it? What do you consider the best thing exhibited there so far? 

A: Having my own gallery was my dream. And a vitrine gallery is financially feasible. Of late I’ve been thinking how to move on after its first year. I like galleries such as SPF15, some.center fist gallery, and info-punkt. Every exhibition or co-operation has its own magic, but I really liked the way you approached the Global Structure of the Universe exhibit and I also really enjoyed working with Clemense Reineck. I also had this concept of choosing people I’d like to know better and whose work processes I’m interested in. 

&: You and painter Jiří Topinka are a couple and so you probably also share the space you create in, be it physical or mental. Did your art space and work processes experience a change because of this? If so, what was it?

A: As a couple we have collaborated several times with Jiří and we also consult each other on our work, so we obviously influence one another. Jiří is not as tied to pop-culture since he is an abstract painter, so thanks to him I started knowingly working with colours and colour planes, while he also shows me other possible approaches to work and that is amazing.

Translated in cooperation with PAF—Festival of Film Animation and Contemporary Art, Olomouc

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