Tique | art paper asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Ittah Yoda, a collective by Virgile Ittah & Kai Yoda founded in 2015 in London.
Lives in London
How do you describe your own art practice?
Virgile: Giving something to people.
Kai: A continuation of errors.
What was your first experience with art?
Virgile: I have a few memories about my first experience. My dad was buying me some archaeological building kit of an amphora or antique statue and I was fascinated by rebuilding it from just broken pieces.
As a child, I was also frequently visiting churches in France and Italy with my mother to look at the biblical and Christian paintings. The high concentration of human feelings, passion, death and love in those paintings captivated me.
Kai: Going to museums with my mother since I was very young, but the first time that I was aware of what I was seeing and that made me think about art was when I saw Andy Warhol’s and Vincent Van Gogh’s self-portrait in person.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
Virgile: I would say in this moment, my greatest source of inspiration is surfing on the internet, collecting image/video in my iPhone and in my brain.
I feel I just take whichever comes from the internet with no prior selection, no hierarchy in the importance of what I am interested in. I am also currently very intrigued by how the behavior and human instinct change in relation to the progress of technology. For instance, how humans now need to be constantly stimulated in reality or on the Internet. I surprised myself last week by instinctively and unconsciously looking at some images on Instagram in the middle of the space of an exhibition in Tate Modern of a modern/contemporary artist as I was not enough stimulated by her work. After two minutes of viewing on Instagram, I put back my phone in my pocket as I suddenly realised how impolite I was.
I deeply feel we are experiencing a turning point in our human history through the technological changes and I feel very lucky and excited to live in this moment.
Kai: Looking at Instagram and looking at shows in person, also meeting artists, especially in the same group show has been very inspiring, as well as travelling to various cities and the encounter with people there. Learning about Snapchat from a police officer.
What do you need in order to create your work?
Virgile: I feel there is always a different kind of period in the life of an artist. Maybe the most important thing is to stay in contact with what is happening in the society, to be able to take some distance from it, analyse it and integrate the feeling of it in your own art form.
Kai: A lot of time doing nothing in the studio listening to Japanese comedy on youtube with wireless headphones, and endless discussions and arguments with Virgile. Also walking around the city and taking public transport is very inspiring for me.
What are you working on at the moment?
Virgile: We are working on some new works for a new exhibition. We are currently researching how to involve video in our wall pieces as a constant moving painting and 3D in our sculptures and installation. We are very interested to involve a feeling of the digital in our work and develop this idea of a digital garden in our installation.
Kai: We want to make some ceramic work so we have been working on a proposal for a ceramic residency in Holland, also some new video paintings, and learning to use CAD to make some CNC milled stone works.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
Virgile: Kai and I went to see the show of Guan Xiao at ICA London. I have seen her work before online but I was so surprised to see it in real life in London, being such in contrast with the traditional old building of ICA. There is a freedom and playfulness in her work I have never felt before. It was very interesting to see how she could mix so freely different periods and origins without a logical path from a western point of view. I felt very inspired also by the different media mixed together she uses in her installation and also how she is not trying to pass a particular message and simply how the work exists by itself. I felt this was a very contemporary idea and it is also how I feel Kai and I are thinking of making work.
Kai: Guan Xiao’s Flattened Metal show at ICA, Alex Ito and Erika Ceruzzi’s Jardin No°19 at Springsteen Gallery that I saw online, and also Henri Matisse’s The Cut-Outs show at Tate Modern. Also I have seen Andy Warhol’s and Vincent Van Gogh’s self-portrait again by chance and this was still a surprising experience for me.