Inteview: Dascha Esselius

Inteview: Dascha Esselius
Image courtesy of Dascha Esselius


Inteview: Dascha Esselius

Luca Curci talks with the artist Dascha Esselius during RITUALS of ANIMA MUNDI festival 2017 in VENICE.

Dascha Esselius was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1953. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden since 1969. Her artwork consists of films, photographs, sculptures, public art and video installations, the last of which are almost immaterial, created by ever changing projections on thin transparent veils all around the spectators. Her first film, which was commissioned by Swedish Television in 1984, was based on the first of these installation.

 

Inteview: Dascha Esselius
Image courtesy of Dascha Esselius

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Luca Curci – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of RITUALS – ANIMA MUNDI FESTIVAL?
Dascha Esselius – The video symbolizes the flow of different cultures that in our time merge and give rise to new cultural expressions. Internet and migration turns the world to a unit.
The plot: We enter in the middle of an ongoing ritual in which a shaman through his movements calls up both ancient and contemporary Nordic imageries which in a constant flow transforms into cultural symbols from around the world. Maybe the shaman is a man, a woman, a child or a robot. What we see we also see with our inner eye. The sound composition is created from recordings of the wind which have been transformed with computer sound programs. There are several versions of the film. The original, 25 minutes long, was created on commission from Umea municipality in Sweden for the video installation Aurora Borealis I at Umea Airport as part of the municipality’s application for the European Capital of Culture 2014. The video has been since the hub in five Aurora Borealis installations which has been shown in Umea in Sweden, in Paris in France and in Vilnius in Lithuania. It’s the first time in Europe that the film is shown stand-alone and not as a video installation. 

 

Inteview: Dascha Esselius
Image courtesy of Dascha Esselius

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L. C. – What do you think about the concept of this event? In which way did inspire you?
D. E. – I’m pleasantly surprised. I can say I’ve been waiting for this. The event’s concept is in line with my entire artistry, whatever expression it has taken. I have worked with these ideas since my artistic debut in 1973 when I was a member of the Theosophical Society. During certain periods I have really worked in headwind.

L. C. – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
D. E. – Yes. It’s mostly about existential issues that I process from different perspectives. These can be personal or global, physical or spiritual, but it’s about survival conditions, for ourselves and for nature.In my form of expression, I often refer to different art historical periods. It’s my way of saying hi to the artists who have acted before me. 

 

Inteview: Dascha Esselius
Image courtesy of Dascha Esselius

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L. C. – Did your style change over the years? How?
D. E. – Yes and No. Artistic style is a form of language that we use to communicate with those who master that particular language. As soon as you want to reach other groups, you need to change the way of expression. Many artists identify themselves with an artistic style. I’m not one of them. I master many different techniques and I use them according to what I want to convey and to which groups I turn to. I can work in several styles in parallel to investigate one and the same question from different viewpoints. One can say that I am moving in elliptical courses in which I continually return to my previous work to continue to develop them.

L. C. – Which are your artistic projects for the future? Is there any possibilities for a new participation in some Italian exhibitions?
D. E. – This summer I even participate in 40 Top Winners exhibition at LACDA – Los Angeles Centre for Digital Art in USA and in Man, Woman & Sea exhibition at Museum for New Art in Pärnu in Estonia. In parallel in Sweden I am working on a permanent sculpture installation for Upplands Bro City Hall commissioned by Upplands Bro Municipality and on a solo exhibition in Upplands Bro exhibition Hall, which will open in September. In Venice, Italy, I am going to participate in Consciousness, the next part of Anima Mundi festival. During Consciousness I will show two completely new films, Angels and Angels & Demons created in January this Year for the Erik Axl Sund Gallery in Stockholm, Sweden.

 

Inteview: Dascha Esselius
Image courtesy of Dascha Esselius

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L. C. – Would you suggest cooperating with us? What do you think about Its LIQUID Group and our services?
D. E. – Yes, I usually suggest for my colleagues to collaborate with It’s Liquid group. This is the fourth time I attend an event organized by It`s Liquid. I wouldn’t do that if I were dissatisfied.The primary thing for me is, however, that It’s Liquid works on topics that are in line with my artistry.

L. C. – Do you think that this experience could be useful for artists and can contribute to increase personal background?
D. E. – Definitely. It’s Liquid offers artists the opportunity to reach beyond their established circles.

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