Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Mirthe Blussé.
Lives in Amsterdam & Barcelona
How do you describe your own art practice?
I seek to connect people with their memories and imagination. I use an abstract visual language to translate my own experiences and emotions into a bigger, universal image that leaves room for personal interpretation. My creative process involves a lot of research at the beginning (moodboard, reading, sketching, colour mixing) but in the end it is strongly based on intuition.
Which question or theme is central in your work?
I focus on daily observations and emotions, trying to filter out the noise, to arrive at their essence. In that sense my work is quite meditative. The work for me is both question and answer. I ask myself: ‘What do I wish to say?’ and ‘What do I wish not to say? What do I leave out?’ I try to create works that remain open for the viewer’s interpretation. I give a hint about their meaning in the title, but that’s as far as I’ll go.
I normally paint horizontally, on the floor, for this involves my whole body and an intuitive concentration. Actually, it feels more like drawing, really. What fascinates me, in this way of working, is the directness and the fragility of the human trace through movement. I believe it is something everyone can relate to, as we’ve all started out drawing like this.
What was your first experience with art?
I was lucky to grow up surrounded by art and my parents were very active culturally. They took us from a young age to museums, dance, plays, ateliers and concerts. I remember biking with them through natural park De Veluwe on the infamous white bikes of the park to visit the Kröller – Müller Museum, which has an amazing art collection and sculpture garden. There, I was much impressed by Bart van der Leck’s abstract compositions.
But the first experience with art that really sparked something within me artistically was seeing Joseph Beuys’ work in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and later the Documenta 11 in Kassel, curated by Okwui Enwezor. Those experiences were real eye-openers for me on many levels.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
Emotions from everyday life. Walks in nature. Dance: Marina Mascarell, Juliano Nunes, Jiří Kylián. Poetry: Remco Campert, Mary Oliver, Joan Margarit, Safo. Photobooks: A Camel for the Sun (Fazal Sheikh), Echo (Jungjin Lee), Tadaima (Annemarieke van Drimmelen), Raoul Hausmann, Love on the Left Bank (Ed van der Elsken). Music: too much to list here.
I am an observer, so just stepping out my front door and watching people going round and about is already a feast for the eyes. The emotions on their faces, the colour combinations and different textures of their clothes, their ways of walking and gesturing.
I guess for me the act of painting has a lot to do with what Etel Adnan once said: ‘La peinture comme leçon de pureté de l’esprit. Pureté d’intention. La peinture comme affirmation de la vie, de sa vraie nature.’
What do you need in order to create your work?
For me it all starts with creating the right conditions to work with a relaxed and open mind. I tend to work like a monk. For that I need an isolated space, silence, concentration. From there, my creations come out naturally, I never need to force myself to work. So it is about ‘being’ first – what follows is a continuous flow of ‘doing’.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
When visiting Galería Alegría in Barcelona my eye fell on a small painting by Christine Safa that was part of a group show. I’ve been following her work for a while online, but seeing it in real life was incredible. The impact of this small painting! The warmth of the colours..the loose brush.. It shifted between an abstract mood and a figurative landscape. It completely transmitted me to another world. And, if I can mention a book: Fragments (texts by Zoé Valentin & drawings by Rosemarie Auberson).