Interview: Dascha Esselius

Interview: Dascha EsseliusImage courtesy of Dascha Esselius

Interview: Dascha Esselius

Luca Curci talks with Dascha Esselius during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES of BORDERS festival in Venice on August 2016Dascha Esselius works with sculpture, video, photography, installations and public art. She has also worked with several artistic projects related to science and health. Dascha was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1953. After the Soviet occupation of the country in 1968 she came to Sweden as an unaccompanied refugee child in 1969. She started to paint because she needed to process her dramatic experiences of escape. She had her first solo exhibition in 1973 under a pseudonym Akin Dascha. Over the next few years, she had been represented in several municipal and state collections and even at National Museum of Sweden. Dasha studied sculpture at University College of Arts Crafts and Design in Stockholm, than she began to work with sounding sculptures, light installations, film and video. In connection with her graduation, she received the College of Arts Grant, the Grant of the Swedish Arts Grants Committee and the Stockholm City Grant. In 1993 she married the photographer and filmmaker Hans Esselius, so she changed her name to Dascha Esselius. In 2000 she began to take interest in artistic research, she worked with researches from different disciplines.

 

Interview: Dascha EsseliusImage courtesy of Dascha Esselius

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Luca Curci – Please tell me about your art/the artwork shown during our festival Borders/Fragmented Identities
Dascha Esselius – The Brainstorm is a film taken in one shot on the helicopter apron on the icebreaker Oden on her way to Wrangle Island in the Arctic Ocean during a polar research expedition Beringia directed by Swedish Polar Secretariat which is a part of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science. The plot: Two scientists, professors of each subject are deeply engaged in a discussion. The contact of their mines creates new, humoristic and unexpected shapes that transforms their bodies to one form which continuously mutates until the image flow implodes and all disappears in a horizontal line. The sound is digitally processed original sound from the place. Both the Arctic and the Antarctic are connected to myths about strong adventurous man defeating the nature and discovering new continents. It was therefore important to me to stand free from these heroic and colonial visions and find out my own approach to the subject. I put myself a question: what happens inside a person while passing through time zones and travelling to unknown places, which few have visited? What sort of mark does it leave on the surface of the inner self and how can this be expressed? The places we visited were so odd and at the same time so familiar in an archetypal way, that after a time it was hard to decide what was the inner and what was the outer reality. A science fiction feeling took over and grew stronger and stronger inside me, as if we were travelling not with an icebreaker but with a spaceship to the start point of time.

 

Interview: Dascha EsseliusImage courtesy of Dascha Esselius

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L.C. – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artworks presented been created for the festival Borders or as a part of pre-existent works?
D.E. – No but, as soon as I saw the call for submission for the Fragmented Identities exhibition I understood that the film would fit the topic. Several of my works do. The topic of fragmentation runs as a thread through my whole artistic career.
L.C. – When you start practicing art and why?
D.E. – Art for me is a tool to understand the world around me in the same way that game is for children. I guess I still haven’t stopped being a child. My first solo exhibition I had in 1973 when I was twenty years old. From that point I have been exhibiting continuously.
L.C. – Can you talk about your artistic work? Which are your inspirations?
D.E. – The world turns to me and I use art to examine it from different angles. To be a human on the planet Earth is such a complex business. My eagerness to get closer to the essence of life seems never ending.

 

Interview: Dascha EsseliusImage courtesy of Dascha Esselius

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L.C. – What’s the art tip you usually receive? Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
D.E. – Naturally. The art is about communication. The audience wants most of the time to share their thoughts and emotional experience that my art has aroused in them, that I regard as a great gift which give my art a warrant.
L.C. – What art themes do you pursue? What are your preferred subjects if any?
D.E. – As an artist I work in the field of tension between the fantastic and the realistic documentary. I am interested in the world around me and in social contexts, but also in exploring the inner landscape of our imagination and especially the interaction between these two worlds. The greater part of my artwork consists of almost immaterial video installations created by ever changing projections on thin transparent veils which are put in motion by natural or artificial wind. This creates a feeling as if everything was flowing, like being underwater, as if the environment dreamed of inner worlds for the audience to wander about in. The starting point of my film – and video making was creating films and animations for these installations.
L.C. – What do you think about It’s LIQUID Platform?
D.E. – It´s very good. It provides an opportunity for artist to act outside their ordinary circles.

L.C. – Do you think It’s LIQUID Group can represent an opportunity for artists?
D.E – Definitively

 

more. dascha.nu

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