Interview: Valérie Reding

Valérie RedingImage courtesy of Valérie Reding

Interview: Valérie Reding

Valérie Reding was born on 16th February, 1990 in Luxembourg. She is studing Media Arts at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. She has taken part in many exhibitions such as “Sexualitäten”, presented by “Kunst passiert!” in the “Coqd’Or” in Olten (Switzerland); “Vertiefung Mediale Künste”, at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHDK); “One Night Only”in Zurich (Switzerland).

Luca Curci – When did you start practicing art and why?

Valérie Reding – The first language of creative expression that I learned was dancing. I always wanted to become an independent artist. However I let myself being pushed onto the path of becoming a rationally thinking scientist. I believed that after I would be retired, I could finally do what I love most: art. I am aware that the following is sounding extremely cliché, but it was only through the death of a loved one that I realised how short and precious life is and that I should stop living the life of someone else in order to meet other people’s expectations. At that moment in 2010, I abandoned my architecture studies at the ETH in Zurich, embarked on the journey of becoming an artist and started my studies in Media Arts at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. Practicing art is for me a way of life, my method to process daily experiences, to question everything and to live life more thoroughly.

Valérie RedingImage courtesy of Valérie Reding

L.C. – Can you talk about your artistic work? Which are your inspirations?

V. R. – I love observing people, their movements, the way they perform stereotypes, their verbal and non-verbal communication and analysing them in different social and political contexts. Therefore, I find a lot of inspiration in pop-culture. I am also very intrigued (and slightly scared) by “new media“ like video, television, computer, Internet and other digital technologies that influence interpersonal communication and interaction, the transmission and consumption of information and shape our self-conception as well as the social structures of our daily life. All those new technologies are developing at such a pace, that they appear to get more and more incontrollable and their long-term influences on human life can only be vaguely estimated. Through my work, I try to get a deeper insight into the extent of those influences and question recent developments in our society. Recurring themes in my work are masks, gender identity, metamorphosis, death and the human body. Currently, I find a lot of inspiration in the works of Max Frisch, Elisabeth Bronfen, Alfredo Jarr, Frida Kahlo, Maya Deren, Pina Bausch, Anna Halprin, Steve McQueen, Christian Falsnaes and Glenn Ligon.

Valérie RedingImage courtesy of Valérie Reding

L.C. – What are you currently working on?

V. R. – I am currently working on a collaboration with the composer and media artist Alexander Martinz, based on Italian Gialli and their representations of women. The final work will be a video and sound collage that analyses different stereotypes of women, their role as the beautiful yet passive victims of atrocious crimes and the connections between foley sound effects, images and created atmospheres. The way society deals with death and how this is reflected in the visual representations of death and dead bodies in our culture is a subject that has been haunting me for quite some time. To incorporate my past in ballet and contemporary dance, I have recently been trying to branch out more into performance art and express myself by using my own body as a medium. I am very intrigued by performance art because of it’s ephemerality and because it allows direct interaction with the public and calls for immediate response.

Valérie RedingImage courtesy of Valérie Reding

L.C. – What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

V. R. – Transcend your fears. Whether it is the fear of not meeting one’s own or someone else’s expectations, the fear of making mistakes, the fear of losing control, the fear of going too far, the fear of producing something that will not be accepted by others, the fear of not attending perfection, the fear of failing. To a certain degree fear can be challenging, but if the feeling grows too strong, it is devastatingly paralysing. Experience has taught me that the most uncomfortable challenges always lead to the most unexpected, innovative and most rewarding results.

Valérie RedingImage courtesy of Valérie Reding

L.C. – What is art for you?
V. R. – Art gives me the opportunity to always question everything, to ask why things and processes are the way they appear to be. It allows me, by playing like a child and connecting different and seemingly incompatible methods and sources for acquiring knowledge, to discover new relations and get more insight and a deeper understanding of the functioning of our society and of life in general. Furthermore, art gives me the possibility to share those discoveries with other people. But most of all, art is for me the most potent tool to change and improve our society and lives because it cherishes the freedom of thinking and it’s utilisation.

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