PATIOO will launch September 17th, 2020 deploying the videolight work of Norwegeian- NYC based artist Anne Senstad that has created a unique site-specific video installation alongside a signature light sculpture calibrated for the occasion for the first time in Europe.
We are today both thrilled to announce the opening of PATIOO in Sotogrande, South of Spain. As a contemporary art gallery set at the heart of one of the most exclusive private resorts in the world, it will showcase established international artists via a by-appointment private viewing room : a monoroom specializing in site-specific art projects related to conceptual, light and cinematic art. We here set out to state th.at Post-Conceptual is Chic.
PATIOO: is Nouvelle Vague ArtSpaces, the creative platform we established in Marbella two years ago has set itself the mission to focus and give a voice to emerging artists. After opening and curating a dozen shows, developing art residencies and collaborative experiments locally and worldwide we thought it was high time to set out and explore new routes in order to navigate different dynamics.
Dynamics of Decentralization: The new abnormal imposes a reshuffled worldview that solidifies around the idea of decentralization. Mobility has become a central issue for art lovers, collectors and art dealers around the globe that has given way to the rise of digital sales as Artnet’s 50% increase in recent auction sales tends to prove. We will be present – as we have successfully over the first lockdown- via our multiple VR viewing rooms. But on the other hand it creates a novel dynamic : it will allow us to build lives in our summer and secondary homes, progressively moving central activities out of our cities. To bring art back to the physical level we plan to unpackage a variety of flavors, sur mesure.
The sensory chamber: is a video/light art work of Norwegeian- NYC based artist Anne Senstad were she invited into an intimate dialogue full of poetry, for our soul space inside us, with transmitted color in hues blues and whites enveloped in a soundscape resonating the experience of light, electricity, special vastness created by the composer Thirlwell. The video explores the human being with color and matter with special sensations, making passage of time created in our mind a new physical stardust. Inspirited to the famous Babel tower, like a totem who remind us reconnections with all the memory and symbol of new civilities.
Anne Senstad, Tell us about yourself before your next solo show …
1- How does your artistic career start? Asking about you and Your starting point
– its hard to say the exact starting point I don’t think anyone does, but I have vivid experiences, memories, observations and obsessions, epiphanies and deep focus throughout my life have shaped my creativity. I think I became an artist out of a need to express creatively the journey of my early life, which was quite dramatic with a lot of fascinating cultural and geographic influences at an early age, having grown up in Singapore as a child, then in Norway. So instead I would say being an artist is the totality of my persona, rather than becoming an artist at a certain point, as in graduating to become a doctor. I think some things that shaped me, are fex I remember as a young teenager I took drawing classes over several years outside my school, that was a course for grown ups which was quite funny but highly educational since it was removed from the normal environment, my school had no art classes so I was searching for likeminded people. But I also took computer coding as the only girl at my school at that age too hungry to learn about technology. Keep in mind this is the early 80’s, so computers were not really that common in a high school back then. My father was an architect of information systems very early on, a pioneer, so I learned about technology pretty early in an organic way. Another influence early on in my artistic development, is music and cinema, I was quite rebellious and joined a band playing bass guitar when I was 13-14. Later, while studying social science and politics in Oslo before moving to New York to go to Art school, I was a cinema projectionist, like in the film Cinema Paradiso, so I had to learn everything about the science of light, optic-sound, the mechanics of lenses and film as material. This was for a very strict 6 months course with an intense technical exam. I think this technical introduction was so extreme that I was guided by fate towards light itself as the matter that is one of my main materials.
2- What is the meaning of your creative experience?
I work with different themes, perception and our cognitive system is one of the layers in my work. I think my system of working is that it comes from the subconscious realm, but I have simultaneously studied and investigated materials, themes, techniques, philosophical ideas and observed and tested various materials, so the hands, mind and eyes create the work , just as one plays an instrument. I compare it to jazz improvisation. Jazz musicians are masters at pure technique, yet highly sophisticated in just tapping into the great universal source of creativity, and it comes through them, they become the instrument itself. It sounds like a simple explanation of the creative process, but for me I like to go to the essence, the source itself, which is non obstructed by superficiality. I find that’s where the intensity, purity and authenticity lies.
3- Where did you develop your artistic sense the most in which best technique?
I think I have developed my artistic technique over the years as mentioned , as a result of the accumulated expriences in various fields. And hands on projects. But I went to art school in New York, at Parsons School of Design, and The New School for Social Research so my formal art education is anchored in New York. Living in New York in the 90’s through the 2000’s was a great place to develop my artistic language as well. All the museums, galleries and the intensity of the city was a great place to develop as a young artist. I also learned a lot in real time and practically hands on, out in the field working on experimental land art projects and socially engaged projects.
4- Tell us in detail how you work a work, your typical day?
I don’t really have a typical day apart from the regular tasks like emails in the morning. I work best on creative and intellectual tasks in the evening, so I section up my creative work to last half of my day which is good for when I’m working in different time zones, and I do the practical things in the first part of the day – but it all varies depending on what projects I’m doing and in what part of the world. Now that we live in a new and very uncertain reality, travel is not the regular part of my time like it was before. If I’m working on several shows at once, it’s quite intense over several months, like a marathon, then I try to have a short break in between, and try to travel to replenish my energy and inspiration, but now that we are stationed with so many restrictions, one has to find new ways of taking healthy breaks. I would say my time is similar to how film productions happen probably, intense and with and arch for several months or years at a time.
5- The Sensory Chamber, tell us about the choice of title and why?
The Sensory Chamber came to me when I was creating the third large scale neon sculpture installation for my show at SL Gallery in New York in 2019, entitled Beckoned to Blue. The spatial light environment was focused on the ephemerality, the depth and sense of eternity of the color blue, merged with the idea of being inside of an art work, so one would experience a sensation of vastness and becoming part of the art itself, merging the self with the mechanics and the matter. In the ajoining space to the main large gallery, there was a small enclosed chamber, which I found fascinating and gave me the idea to create the internal vision in dialogue with the external vastness of space, which is the confined inner structure of our beings. How we feel inside of our skin, how we can experience the sensation of our souls confined to our bodies, and how we long for the unexplainable freedom of the limitless. In the state of sleep and moments of eurforia we experience these notions of total freedom. A chamber is a small room that allows us to notice the scale of our bodies through its limits. So in working with the sensorial system, our cognitive system, being inside a confined space, yet exposed to the properties of the color blue through a vertical projection at the end of the long narrow rectangular shaped chamber. The shades of blue light compositions containing a white sparkling elongated shape expanding and retracting, echoing our body and mind, reminds us of how we have that mental, emotional and experiential vastness inside ourselves, and to be aware of it, happens through the audio visual and architecturally reductive environment I created. The particles one sees in the projection resemble what we see when our eyes are closed or in a dark room, the phenomenon of The Prisoners cinema where your brain compensates for light by creating patterns, shapes, and dancing light. The second installation of The Sensory Chamber was for my solo show Radical Light at Kai Art Center earlier this year and there I introduced the bed of salt for the projection to merge with. Salt is a magical material, it is mythical, symbolic and has been with us as a civilization from the beginning of time as a necessary substance for our diet and for preservation, as a trading value system worth more than gold at times, it is geological and part of the ocean. We are salt. And we are water. it represents all that is solid and the earth. I love the bed of salt as concept, and moving it to the floor, resembling topographic landscapes, a pool or our last resting place, invoking precious moments of contemplation. As a substance to project upon, it merges perfectly with the video and sound, as it heightens the visual impression of the particles and electrical phenomena. When Camilla and Firouz invited me to create an installation for the first exhibition at their new Monoroom project Patioo in Sotogrande, Spain I thought it would be meaningful as a response to our times, how we have all lived through confinement, solitude, quarentine and a new heightened awareness of our bodies, our cellular systems and our mental and emotional health, and I wanted to recreate it in the new context and expand on the installation in response to the new human condition we are currently facing; the era of the great human and environmental crisis, and simultaneously bring some meditative beauty to the word as well . The sound composition is by the acclaimed composer and musician JG Thirlwell , envelopes the body in concert with the visual experiences of the piece . I think as a result of the prolonged quarentine, we experience physical and neurological sensations and sense external atmospheric changes differently now than before the pandemic , so I thought it would be very interesting to create the new version of the installation for Patioo in context of all the new facts and observations, and that could complete it to a fuller extent. I think during the time of the quarentine and after , we appreciate nature more, the sound of the sea and fresh air. Since we are going through a mass trauma now globally, especially in the US due to the added political issues there, I think the contextualization of The Sensory Chamber in today’s world allows the viewer to absorb and just sit with the colors away from the world, and experience the purity of blue color hues and the vastness of the soundscape. The spatial installation is in essence about perception. Perception of space, of time, of ourselves, of light and sound. I’m very excited to show it at Patioo Monoroom as the inaugural exhibition there and as the third version and elaborated version of it . We also included a sculptural work in dialogue with the experiential installation, Babel no 8, which is based on the idea of the dispersing of human connectedness, through use of the readymade, Bauhaus and constructivist materials, representing modern societal issues and the idea of the utopic. The sculpture represents the architectural shape of a tower, yet also is perceived as an illusion of form. The colors overlap blue tones, darks greens, flourescent and mint greens and create new tonalities on the overlapping and reflections of colors.
6- you are inspired by some artist of the past? If so, which one?
I am very inspired by all the land artists, Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt. I also love the California light and space artists like Robert Irwin , Larry Bell and that whole crew. Then we have Dan Flavin of course who was an early inspiration for me. Around 12 years ago I made a piece in response to Flavin’s legacy, a text work in neon entitled “Forget Flavin”, which is a word game on Baudrillards “Oubliee Foucault” denouncing Foucault as the high priest of contemporary philosophy in France. But I would admit my piece is an ode to Flavin as much as a denouncement of ones heroes. I also love the large light environments of Lucio Fontana and of course James Turrell although I think he is over exposed now. The latin American Arte Concrete movement is very important to me, both philsosophically and politically (like the Arte Povera group was ) with the Brazilian artist Helio Oiticia and Lygia Pape. I also like the critical conceptual artist Hans Haacke a lot, and early on I was inspired by the Dadaists. Otherwise I’m very inspired by film, writing and the worlds of philosophy and ideas. Sound is a very strong inspiration to me, right now I’m listening to the minimalist composer Terry Riley’s collaborations with Don Cherry.
7- Your creative process also touches high technology, how important is it today?
I use technology as a tool. The work is not about technology like many digital artists are locked onto. I wish I knew more about technology and knew it better, but I think my version of technology is an analogue take on the digital, so I mix the past and the future to create a work for the present. I’m not into VR or AR at all. But I like technology in the sense of achieving the ultimate possible sound quality and visual quality for the situation. I like the fetishistic approach to technology. Its fun to play with and have. I think technology is extremely important today, especially while we go through the societal changes and challenges, in order to keep a form of global infrastructure working, the medical industry and communication. I think its amazing that and important that artists work in technology to counter the militarization of it. For art I think it can degrade it too, it exposes weakness very fast. But we are also seeing a lot of really amazing new programs being developed now, improving the tools. I recently started following a an AI artitist on instagram to see what it would produce. Of course it’s a young female cute artist, and not an old guy! And I have to say the work she is producing is really bad, which is pretty funny. The programmers of the AI had only inserted some very limited skills and creative possibilities in it, since they are not artists themselves I imagine. I think the AI artist is already in the auction market with steep prices after only a few months art production and no history at all pre 2020.
8- How important is color to you?
Color is extremely important. I would say I’m a colorist, even though I work in the language of minimalism a lot which is not specifically known for the chromatic realm and sensitivity . I go through various color epochs, where I use color as theme to investigate its fullest potential or as a way to discuss conceptual ideas. Color forms space, volume, and it lends a persona to an object. The phenomena of color can be seen as one of the most important vehicles in all cultural activity and expression, it’s a form of language. I like to see color in my minds eye, then work with it through light. Lately I’ve been working with transparent acrylics in different colors, as a way of blending colors to become new colors. For example in the Albers squares, he based the compositions on the juxtapositions of colors, where one color was dependent on the other, creating a dialogue and enhancing or retracting the other. While in my new sculpture series Towers of Babel at Patioo Monoroom, the triangular towers, are built from overlapping semi transparent acrylics, that create new colors while reflecting through the added mirrors I use, creating an illusion of shape . I also added fluorescent coiors for the first time. Which I find problematic in a positive way. Flourescents are demanding, yet very playful. It enhances a line or a volume, and dictates the totality of the piece.
9- Space can influence the art work, how?
For my creative process I am deeply influenced by space, the history , the narrative. And it also influences the development of an artwork, by contextualizing it. For example I have created large light installations in cathedrals and churches. But the installation was informed by the history of the church, its architecture, its dedication, the light of the space and how I felt there. In Texas is created a multi projection installation with sufi meditation sound in a church that was built for the first freed slaves , in 1965 as part of the Aurora Audio Visual festival. The projections merged with the stained glass windows, and also the ceiling and walls of the small church, the composition acted as a kind of soothing space of universality tat was absorbed through sound narratives, color compositions transforming the space and the act of spatial intervention. It embedded a narrative of equality for all present in the space. It was a very humbling experience. The narrative of a geographic location is interesting to consider as to how to shape an installation. Nature , light, air, aromas, sounds, people, language – all the experiential aspects of being in a location. And for me, how I can shape that into something new or transform it, and reshape the narrative to tell a new story. Meaning I use a space as the canvas and material and I alter the whole perception and nature of its existence for a set amount of time . Another large scale site specific installation I created that transformed the meaning of the place and its identity, to create a new work from, is my installation “Projections of the Surreal”, 2012 that I created in Las Posas, Xilitla, in Mexico at The Surreal Gardens, which was established by the british eccentric Edward James in the 1950’s. it’s a massive concrete sculpture park deep into the jungle resembling the manifestation of an Alice in Wonderland fantasy, merged with ideas of what the surreal is as architectural form. I was invited by the architect restoring the park and the Edward James foundation, to create color projections in transition onto the grey concrete structures, merging my work with the manifestations of this man’s mind located far into the jungle in an area that was at the time, infested by cartels. I had to get power supplied and ran projectors off of daisy-chained extension cords. As a result I documented the installation and created a short film of it. So in this instance the narrative space and geographic location informed my work very strongly and created the frame work for it. With The Sensory Chamber at Patioo Monoroom, the geographic location is for me a great inspiration that I was very excited about. The idea of the Gibraltar, the passage to the Atlantic and the new world , the architecture of the space, and the landscape informed the potential of the installation. One can say that the use of the color blue in the context of the space has a whole other connotation and experiential impact in a coastal region and its specific history.
10- What would you like to give to your public during the exhibit?
I would love for people to feel a sense of calmness and a sense of beauty, to be reminded what beauty is in this troublesome world we are in currently. Art has the ability to reach and communicate on endless levels, so there is something for everyone to take away with them from the installation. I think it is important to allow oneself to be moved by art, and not focus only in the philosophical or theoretical sides of an installation. There needs to be an aesthetic realm to it for people to engage in. But I never dictate what people should feel. Everyone is different in their responses and I love to hear what people experience from the visits.
11- Where would you like to go in the future? Projects soon?
I am working on a solo show in Norway for january 2021, that was postponed since may this year. So that will be especially meaningful to me now, both for the exhibition to produce it after all the dramatic displacement of the art from the pandemic, but also its very nice to exhibit in my home country and continue to be active there. I like the Nordic art scene a lot. This exhibition was originally part of my show at the He Xiangning Art museum in China, in 2018, so it has been waiting in storage since then. The installation is a multi chromatic large scale neon installation in the Elements series, and it will be the 5th version of my spatial neon sculpture installations. The title of the exhibition is Music for Plutocracy, which references our critical times, and the need for transformation from greed and the disenfranchisement of humanity towards a radically new value system. The title is a word play on what I see as Brian Eno’s 70’s muzak venture, “Music for Airports”. Neon was traditionally used for selling products, for seduction, and for propaganda or signage with statements, it is a symbol of the capitalistic system in that identity. Here in this version of “Elements”, it is re conseptualized into a matrix system and structurally a “tunnel of light”, referencing the traditional symbol of rebirth. In my more critical work, I merge the conceptual and spatial and use that as a platform to discuss philosophical approaches to ethics and societal issues. Another series of works I am doing now, is a short film series in collaboration with a well known American actor from the independent film scene, Bill Sage, where my 10 min short film vignettes take on 5 chapters from Roland Barthes pedagogical book “How To Live Together”. So we completed the first chapter, Utopie/Utopia, which has been shown with Yi Gallery in New York and in a group show with Nordic artists working in technology in response to today’s global situation at Streaming Museum. So the next step is the production of the next 4 chapters from the book. This is a remote collaboration, so it’s a pretty interesting way of working, Afterall the film is also about the human condition of the current times, so the process is part of the film as well.
Anne Katrine Senstad, short bio:
The practice of Norwegian artist Anne Katrine Senstad lies in the intersections chromatic minimalist and light environments, working with installation art, photography, video art, neon sculpture and site specificity. Her practice has for over several decades been focused on the phenomenology of perception of light, sound and color, with an anchor in the knowledge of color theory, optics and the psychology of space. In her text works Senstad addresses human nature and philosophy through text installation statements and word play, utilizing commercial signage and intervention. Senstad’s practice on socially engaged field projects and land art works, includes cultural, social and political interactions, performative interventions and feminist collaborations to create wider educational and cultural platforms between diverse ideologies. Through this, Senstad seeks to develop comments on the what she sees as a new folklore and an amalgamation of a post-modern individualism and an internationalism for our future. She has exhibited widely internationally in galleries, museums and institutions; 55th and 56th Venice Biennale (Italy), Bruges Art and Architecture Triennale (Belgium), Kai Art Center (Estonia), He Xiangning Art Museum (China), Trafo Kunsthall (Norway), Octavia Art Gallery (New Orleans + Houston), Zendai Moma (China), Yi Gallery, Freight + Volume Gallery, Gary Snyder Gallery, Bjorn Ressle Gallery and Elga Wimmer Gallery in New York. Senstad is the recipient of artist residencies at Marblehouse Projects, Vermont and Abu Dhabi Arthub (UAE), Public Art Commissions include Ohio State Percent for Art Program with Snøhetta Architects for the Wolfe Center for the Arts at BGSU. She has participated in numerous new media, film and light art festivals including ISEA Dubai 2014 (UAE), Rencontres Internationales Paris- Berlin (FR),and Dallas Aurora (USA) Anne Katrine Senstad was raised in Singapore and Norway, today she lives and works between New York and Oslo, Norway. She received her art education at Parsons School of Design and The New School for Social Research in New York 1994 and 1999, and Berkeley University, CA in 1989. Info: annesenstad.com
Patioo – by Camilla & Firouz FarmanFarmaian
The Sensory Chamber by Anne Katrine Senstad, With sound by JG Thirlwell
Exhibit 17 Sep – 17 Dec 2020
Plaza Mayor 7, PN, Sotogrande, Spain
Kai Art Center is: www.kai.center
She is an independent curator, art advisor and international marketing management consultant. For more than 20 years, he has been a cultural designer of events related to contemporary art with particular attention to unusual spaces and interactions with other arts.