"Personal Studio" Art Project
Author: Svitlana Biedarieva
February 23rd - March 16th, 2012,
In February 2012 I went to the three-week artistic residency "Mecklenburg Inspiriert" in Kühlungsborn, Germany, to make a project "Personal Studio". The aim of the project was to focus on such problem of young artists as lack of space for creating artistic work. The project was intended to represent metaphorical solution of this problem in a public place. The primary idea was to take a large carton box, and paint inside of it in the street of a city. I planned to make one box with different conceptual modifications a day, and while painting it to communicate with people who walk on this street. However, the local environment gave additional context to the artistic action, and created new meanings of what I was doing there.
When I was arriving, I did not know much about the residency and the place where I will work in. Kühlungsborn revealed to be a small lovely touristic town in the shore of the Baltic sea. To my surprise I was proposed to live in a 4-star hotel, with luxurious outlook and all other beauties that such a place can provide. This contrast between the idea of my project and the conditions it was gave another perspective on the whole process.
The first studio was decided to put in the most popular place of the town - the beach. I didn't find a carton box which would be big enough, so I needed to construct it myself from small boxes. After few days of preparation I announced the opening of the project, established the box so that it was facing the sea, and went on painting. People were arriving, passing, looking in the box, talking to me, asking questions but, alas, in most cases I couldn't answer, because I don't speak German. I expected such situation, so on the side of a box I put short information about project in both English and German languages. Fresh wind was blowing from the sea, sand was getting in the box and mixing with colors. First I was trying to get rid of it, but then I understood that it is something that connects this art object to the environment, and I allowed much sand to get inside.
In the painting of the first studio I was using random images that were also inspired by Hundertwasser's paintings. It took me 5 hours to finish my work. Members of hotel staff were helping me with organization and photography, and I am very thankful to them for that. Because of closed space of the box, all my clothes soon became colored with acrylic paint, and at the end I returned to my hotel completely covered with color and sand, and happy for the successful start.
The next studio I put in the forest. Dry rustling leaves that stayed there since autumn made a pleasant background and great sound installation for my work. Old German aspen trees surrounded my box, which for this time I put face to the walking path. I understood that direct verbal communication without translation will not give so much effect, so I decided to make this performance in a theater-like way: to distinguish between the viewers and the artistic action. The studio stood on a well-lighted area of the forest, apart from the route where the public were having their after-lunch walk. Passer-by's didn't step to the leaves, preferring to stay on a well-trodden soil path. However, some of the passing-by ladies started to talk with me, even though they need to shout for that. But mostly communication went on visual level, the information that I put on one of the trees explained the process. I considered explanation essential for the action, because my aim was to present certain position of artist, both in literal and nominal ways. This time I made a smaller box, so that it was even more difficult to move inside of it. I needed to take some crazy, almost yoga pose to manage to paint some parts of the walls and ceiling.
As well as in case with the first box I didn't paint the floor, because it was completely covered with sand or leaves. I finished with the floor already in the hotel, while preparation the boxes for the exhibition. The opening of the exhibition took place on 9th of March. I presented there two 'studios', photo documentation and the description of the project. Apart from the exhibition and "Personal Studio" project I also gave two workshops on painting - in local school and local kindergarten Kita Bummi.
I consider my experience in the residency "Mecklenburg Inspiriert" a first stage of the project that I would like to develop further, trying different modifications, sites and audience for the studios. I have presented some ideas of studio types in the preliminary plan which I posted before my participation in the program, however the plan was too wide to complete it in the period of a single residency. As the next location I see a large urban city.