Interview: Cara Louwman
Luca Curci talks with Cara Louwman during ANIMA MUNDI 2019 – VISIONS at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.
Cara Louwman (The Netherlands, 1967) is a contemporary fine art photographer specialized in creating images that tells a story. She uses photography as a mean to stage an idea and to present new perspectives on contemporary subjects. Her photographs are characterized by the use of multiple layers. She creates images that are often different from a direct representation of reality.
In July 2017, she has completed her study Photographic Design at the University of Applied Photography. Subsequently, she was selected to participate in an one-year BredaPhoto MasterClass Course. Cara’s fine art photographs have won multiple awards at PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, IPA International Photography Awards and MIFA Moscow International Foto Awards. Further, her photographs have been exhibited at BredaPhoto Festival 2018, ZomerExpo 2017 in Museum de Fundatie and former concentration Camp Amersfoort from April 2015 onwards.
LC – What is art for you?
CL – For me, art means showing people the world in a different way. To throw a different light on it.
To me the world is boundless and intertwined, which will be expressed through art.
LC – What are you currently working on?
CL – I am currently working on a photo art book ‘Rooting’. In this project, two sisters in law, a photographer and a writer, embark on a journey to bring the past into the present by uprooting their ancestral roots.
I am creating new photographic work with heirloom objects from different generations of ancestors I never met. By doing so, I am transforming the past into a lived presence. Lifeless objects become a way to forge a living connection with my roots. Photographing becomes playing with my ancestors. The past becomes a tangible way to learn from and to determine myself with.
Yuen Yee Li, my sister-in-law, does not have surviving objects from the past. The only way to reconnect with her roots is by her living body, and by letting her roots flow through her hands: texts and Chinese calligraphy.
Cara and Yuen Yee themselves are also family. By working together, they give rise to the merging of families, the inoculation of roots.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
CL – Yes, every photo series that I make has its own unique style. Sometimes my photos are dark in color and contain still lifes, other times my photographs are very clear and white in color. Just depending on the theme.
For example, the series ‘Wonder Room: Homo Artificialis’ consists of still lifes in dark colors. In this series I show people the technology that embeds itself in us, which are works of art themselves. The photographs together constitute the ingredients of a wonder room, which gives the viewer a picture of the technological possibilities now and in the future.
My newest series ‘rooting’ consists of clear white photos of heirloom items, as if they were photographed in a laboratory. It refers to researching my family objects.
The photo series ‘I am who I am’ are staged portraits in an old canal house in Leiden (the Netherlands) from 1650. It’s about integrating cultural differences and finding a way to place yourself in that.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
CL – With my photographs, I would like to present new perspectives on contemporary subjects. I create images that are often different from a direct representation of reality.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
CL – My favorite theme is ‘where do you consist of?’ and I base myself on the following text from the book Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie: “I am who I am, that’s all there is. I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world was effected by mine.”
The photo series ‘I am who I am’, displayed at the Anima Mundi Festival VISIONS in Palazzo Ca’Zanardi is based on this theme.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
CL – I love the concept Anima Mundi, an intrinsic connection between all living entities on the planet. In my photographs I am focusing more on the hidden connection between the human soul and body and how to express this in photographs. In my photographs I like to show a boundless and intertwined world.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
CL – I like your vision of art and was pleasantly surprised by the various shows of the performance artists. Another great way to shape this theme. The combination of visual art and performance art appeals greatly to me. Moreover, the interior of Palazzo Ca’Zanardi reinforces the displayed art.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
CL – The organization of the opening event of the Anima Mundi Festival VISIONS in Palazzo Ca’Zanardi was great. Nice to meet so many different artists from all over the world. Also, the organization was very welcoming.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
CL – I enjoyed the cooperation with you. You very precise and quick in responding to my e-mails. The exhibition looks nice and sleek. I am very happy with the space in which my five photographs are displayed. I also hope to contribute something to the organization of this festival. An acquaintance of my mother provides guided tours for Dutch tourists in Venice. She would like to include Palazzo Ca’Zanardi in her tour.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
CL – Your services are great. I think a catalog of the exhibition will be very valuable for the participating artists. Another idea might be an overview of participating artists and their shown work on the itsliquid website.