Tique | art paper asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Karen Amanda Moser.
Lives in Currently in Genova (IT), the last two years in Antwerp (BE), from Bern (CH)
How do you describe your own art practice?
This is always a tricky question. People expect a description to better understand and classify a practice. To examine a work in its specific context is helpful to generate a discourse around it. As such, this is not a problem, as long as the practice does not get narrowed down and still gets considered by its own qualities.
The attempt of categorization, I believe, also has to do with power-relations. To be described is to be controlled as this screenshot on my desktop of a James Baldwin quote suggests: Every legend, moreover, contains its residuum of truth, and the root function of language is to control the universe by describing it.
I do not want to say that formulating phenomena in words is bad, but I try to be aware that it is a tool, used by artists themselves, historians as well as by more economically orientated parties (which sometimes can not that strictly be told apart).
In any way, this question seems to address the relation between the work and the context, in which it is produced. Dealing with the conventions of exhibition-making is a common thread that runs through my practice, in that sense, the context sometimes becomes the content, or, the content is a comment on the context.
Currently I am very intrigued by the idea of a dramaturgy of the visitor. How far are we trained through conventions, to almost follow an unwritten script, while contemplating on artworks?
I have several interests like authorship, how authenticity and value are related to multiplication, how our heritage like artworks (in public space) shape our environment but also basic questions concerning our perception of time and space. Those interests reveal through the reoccurring consideration of such. I believe, one work will never be sufficient to investigate certain ideas, and that revisiting those a number of times from different angles is working towards a more dense, though ever incomplete image. So each piece seems to be one part of a bigger structure, that touches the interests named above. This structure also includes other artworks created by people who worked before me, colleagues and those, who will make art after me.
What was your first experience with art?
I assume, that art school definitely shaped my concept of art but I could not point out an event at first place. Rather I see it as an evolution of what I understand by this term.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
The word inspiration has this strange notion of receiving ideas for a work from somewhere else, a place only accessible to a few chosen ones. In the end, this thinking model might have helped some artists to gain recognition and success, but in fact, we all live in the same world, except with more or less access to resources and education (which should be distributed much more equal). Personally I feel like the word inspiration does not function in regard to my practice. It might for others be more natural to use it.
I think, it is this world with its current and former inhabitants which did something similar to what I try, that influences my work quite a bit. It appears to be kind of logic, as mathematicians too, consider what has been calculated before them, and sometimes the adaption of one unknown variable does change the result of the equation.
What do you need in order to create your work?
This is something I am constantly trying to figure out. The last years always seemed like a provisory state, an existence which at any time needs to be able to move. (It is a situation, I created myself.) Still I was working and exhibiting, so I tried to adapt my needs to what is available, in terms of production. Therefore most of my works are either small enough to carry by foot and train, or I am able to build, destroy and rebuild them somewhere else.
Good colleagues, mentors and friends to have conversations with, I consider as essential to develop and not get lost in my own swirl of thoughts.
Besides that, what I need and always seem to be short of, is time. At least, I am not the only one having this dilemma.
What are you working on at the moment?
Some days ago, I arrived at Genova, where I will spend three months in an artist residency. For sure, some projects, like a group show in the end of March at Bikini in Basel, came along with me. We are planning a publication which is in progress. As well I work on a video for the show, which was recorded in the space beforehand and I am editing at the moment.
Further I hope to really use all the time and generous space I got offered here, to develop new works and reconsider or finish some, which are waiting already for a little while in the back of my mind.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
A lecture performance by Hito Steyerl I saw a while ago in Brussels surprised me in a way, through how close she brings a light humor together with very heavy topics, how naturally the fiction intrudes reality, and opposite.
But I can also very much enjoy work, which does not necessarily surprise me. A surprise has something temporary and fleeting. Some pieces are just a sentence, but I can love them for quite a while. In that sense, their consistency or simplicity surprises me, rather than the instant.