30 August 2021
“Staying wild at heart”
This is Marta Klara
- Artist — Marta Klara
- Interview — Violeta Dai
What does impermanency mean for you?
Beauty. Something that exists just for a limited amount of time and you need to develop a sensibility to recognise its presence.
When I think of impermanence I see vivid images of a flood that washes away everything on its way and nothing can resist the strength of its current. It clears paths of debris. This can seem destructive, but it is purely to allow the new growth, the new birth to emerge.
Thanks to acknowledging impermanence I find peace when relationships or events that end. I know that is like with four seasons - leaves must fell in order to new ones blossom the next year. I feel coming out of the experience restored, revitalized, and ready to tackle challenges with renewed vigour.
How are all your artistic disciplines connected?
With magic glue. The glue that I have been mixing and adding more ingredients to its composition over the years experimenting in the studio.
My practice is an enquiry into how can art and technology enable us to transgress physical spaces. I work holistically and interdisciplinary with an image - still and moving.
Until I have arrived at this conclusion I have been practising in sculpture, painting and photography. It gave me a solid foundation in craft but it felt limiting to tell a story with just one medium. For me, a film is the highest form where all the processes collide with each other. I start from textual research until I can proceed to write a story and then I move to all the aesthetic decisions (designing set design pieces, garments, 3D models…). Having a cultural and anthropological context prepared before I feel more confident in collaborating with other creators and directing.
When catching the first idea I never think of a form it can have at the end of the process. I start with saving lots of things regardless of their value - objects, texts, ephemera, digital scraps.« I very much behave like a hoarder and this nomadic quality is expressed in the work I create. »
I think of my work as both a window into another world and a mirror to the world that we live in.
What makes my practice one of a kind is the fact that the viewer is entering an entirely customised experience. The experience of a space is one of the primary existential categories. People discover and at the same time co-shape the relationship between their existence and space. It leads to a distinction between sacred space and the profane exterior world - a connective tissue between realism and imagination.
In my work, I explore environments favourable to reset where the self begins to be articulate and to develop its creativity. For me it is like setting the ground for a ritual - a glitch in reality for a second and beneath that there is a metaphysical world secreting and growing. The ritual is a device that assists those involved in communicating the inner caverns of the mind, the material world, nature and the spiritual plain.
The sacred-profane world is fluid and I see myself as a creator of syncretism between diverse beliefs and plural existences. Our interconnected world has entered a state barely perceptible by a sense or by the mind leaving humans in permanent limbo. One can call it purgatory, a portal, a writing room. Reflection on a multitude of consciousness, tracking internal processes became a significant ritual in the digital age of disarray. Witnessing the rapid disintegration of the symbolic world in the process of modernization rituals are ceasing to exist.
An example that could support that is my big time inspiration - the private house and studio of Victor Horta in Saint-Gilles, Brussels. It is an example of typical of Art Nouveau where the interior decoration has largely been retained, the mosaics, stained glass, and wall decorations forming a harmonious and elegant whole, down to the last detail. Just like Horta I envision to design the smallest element like a doorknob and let my audience enter space that has never existed before.
In the series ,,Why Are You Creative?”, German director Hermann Vaske has been documenting answers of world-acclaimed creators answering this question. I had the pleasure to contribute to this project as well but only then I realised that I have never thought of a reason for creating.
For me, creation is synonymous with questioning reality, it is how consciousness expresses itself. It is a way of describing not defining and putting things into the stream of history, a gift to the future and an extension of culture. I could not give one answer to that, I assume that is has started with an urge to reinvent myself and my surrounding.
What defines you? What defines your art?
Staying wild at heart. This is Marta Klara.
Movement and change are driving factors for creating a mindset fertile for art-making. I seek powerful and transformative experiences that could strengthen me as a person and as an artist. When I trust in the process I fully give all my focus to the cause. Over the years, I have been a fervent collector of miscellaneous objects and textiles from flea markets.
By using preexisted materials each piece is one of a kind and repurposed for a radically new aesthetic. My ever-evolving experimentation with shape, form and colour trains my eye for composition. As I design different forms, I consider how to manage ideas for an uncertain future where uniting can save nature under anthropocentric attack. These low budget and low-risk experiments led me to confidence in juxtaposing, mixing and stepping out of the norms of the convention. This is how my eclectic style in art and fashion emerged.
My recent trip to the Mayan communities in Latin America confronted me with their beliefs and the calendar. According to the Mayans, people with a chart like mine are healers and are very much connected with the group consciousness. My personality was compared to a knife. A knife can be a weapon to kill but it can also be an instrument of healing in a healer's hand. So the solution is to become the scalpel in the hands of a surgeon instead of a knife that wounds people around you.
It reminds me of a quote by Michaelangelo who said: 'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’ I feel like I am carrying with me my little obsidian knife to really see the layers and the complexity of reality and I learn how to use it wisely.
Mind and home, how do you connect them?
To show how even contemporary secular housing participates in the symbolic origins of home I would like to support my words by archetype theory of Jung. The theory suggests that ritualistic symbolism is inevitably underlying any concept of the intimate spaces, regardless of particular cultural or historical expressions. One of the strongest arguments for that is the essential experience of prenatal existence for every human, which in Jung’s theory links to the archetype of the home through the archetype of the mother. In the symbolic and even pre-symbolic sense, mother’s womb is the first human home.
,,Houses were originally neither shelters nor dwellings but temples, that is to say, buildings erected for ritual purposes”, claimed anthropologist Lord Raglan. In a common-sense consensus, house is a secular unit and not many people hold the belief that it came about from a temple or a church. An indigenous tribe of Manipur in India, divide the house into two parts. One contains a place of worship, which is a priority while building the house.
Similarly, in a Mongolian tent, the family altar is placed on the left side of the bed. The god of fire is welcomed with a variety of offertory dishes, holy water and a burning oil lamp. The left light is believed to supervise as well as help family. According to Raglan, the primary occupation of the women in the house was keeping the hearth fire perpetually burning. The hearth was perceived as a microcosm of the Sun, which must never go out. That is why cooking took place in a separate room outside. The indoor flame was associated with sacred flame like in the temple though preparing a meal on the same heat would be considered as the act close to sacrilege.
Originating from essential symbolic functions, the house carries them to everyday life. The image of the house can mirror statements one wants to share with the exterior world or those that one keeps secret.
“Geometry is transcended” as Bachelard had written about the space transformed by meaning given to it through its poetic perception. In his iconic book The Poetics of Space, he proposed to look at each feature of the inhabited interior as an extension of the psychology of humans living within.
Global technological civilization, with its proliferating media cultures, deeply disturbs the traditional concepts of symbolic home. At the same time, it reconstructs the primordial experience of mother’s womb with infrastructures of life support and safety of screen simulations. Ever since the advent of the Internet, there have been many online movements emerging that try to revive different ritualistic practices with the use of network communication. Tele-presence detached the idea of community from the local proximity of their members. Mediated spaces became less linear, paradoxical in its discontinuity, more ethereal and abstract. I perceive worldwide dislocation and mediated lifestyles as invocations of novel intimacies through technology.
In order to establish a new symbolic understanding of home amongst the turmoil of 21st-century civilization, in my work, I propose to exercise the many strategies of non-rational, poetic and even outrageous perceptions of space. Pitfalls of modernist functionality, dominated by slow-witted common sense, suppressed human imagination and dwarfed the lifestyles of people. Re-establishing the symbolic intensity of intimacy and experimenting with new formulas to bring back the ritualistic origin of the home seem like necessary steps towards better living. Proclaimed by surrealist ‘stage for living’ should replace domestic consumerism with exciting invitations to mysterious performance spaces.
A new sense of transgressing the constraints of physical space is offered by digital communities, which provide a tempting option - an inclusive sphere with seemingly no limitation in the user’s desires. Global media create historically unprecedented opportunities to establish some form (a new mediated form) of intimate relations between people regardless of their physical location. At the same time increasing work obligations and carrier ambitions arguably weaken the bonds within family households. The concept of a family home has become problematic – it more often appears as a source of uncertainty and distress. The digital world arrives in this situation as a relatively stable unity on which one can rest, find a sense of security and a sense of value.
What does pressure mean to you?
Pressure is an acceleration, seeing ahead, staying alert and playing va banque.
What else would you like to say?
How about sharing my five recent inspirations?
1. Svetlana Kolesnichenko and Svetlana Romashina avant-grade performances in sync swimming;
2. 'Stranger Than Paradise' (1984) written, directed and co-edited by Jim Jarmusch;
3. 'Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything' book by Graham Harman;
4. “Berl-Berl”exhibition at Halle am Berghain;
5. The history of how did the pretzel get its shape.
Thank you, Marta Klara <3