Tique | art paper asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Eva Donckers.
Lives in Antwerp, Belgium
How do you describe your own art practice?
Photography based, intrigued by social routine. It’s mostly driven by curiosity to understand certain behavior and human surroundings. I aim to question a contemporary mythology of paradise in my practice. Every project leads me to different scenes in the elsewhere. It becomes a kind of free research, anthropologically inspired by participant observation.
What was your first experience with art?
Our neighbour used to give me lots of books to read when I was a kid. His house was full of notes with poetry, which I found strange in a good way. I think that was the first moment I got introduced to art. When I was a teenager, I saw a photo in a magazine that intrigued me a lot: it was a picture made by Ed Van Der Elsken. I cut it out and glued it in a notebook and so the notebook grew into a collection of pictures that inspired me. I didn’t know the artists, but only learned about art years later on a theoretical level at the academy, which felt a bit like homecoming.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
Inspirational exhibitions, photo books, lectures, conversations… give me input for my practice. Travel inspires me, since it gives me a break from everyday life. It makes me rediscover the way I look at things.
What do you need in order to create your work?
During daytime I observe, shoot and collect. It’s mostly in the evening I like working with my archive in solitary. Time to think and create is essential, but also a deadline, otherwise procrastination takes over.
What are you working on at the moment?
There’s a series I took in Nevada while visiting an underground house. It was built in the seventies as a protective response to nuclear warfare. The building is now on hold to be incorporated into the policy to receive tourists. I find it such an absurd and humoristic location, but at the same time mysterious and slightly creepy. Of course when I travel I’m attracted to the exotic, but I don’t want the series to only communicate that part. Therefore I’m still working on the final shape of the project. During my school process I used to keep several works aside. Going through them, makes me see new associations in my archive, which has an inspiring effect.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
Two works kept on crossing my mind so far this year. The first one is Dana Lixenberg at Huis Marseille. Her video work of Imperial Courts, 1993-2015 gave me goose bumps. Three big screens displayed her observations at this community, which was beautiful in a simple way, yet melancholic. At the same moment, Alec Soth had an exhibition in Londen. Both exhibitions framed specific societies in a personal way. As a viewer you could feel how close they were with the subject, but still aware of a certain distance. They both worked multi disciplinary; a mixture between prints, videos and books and thus a large platform to play in.