Christine Istad, Lisa Pacini and Erik Wøllo, Spectra Emotions. Video installation. Zoellner Arts Center, Pennsylvania, USA
Interview: Christine Istad
Christine Istad works with photography, video and installation. She has participated in several solo and group exhibitions in both Norway and abroad. She has exhibited at Liquid Borders in Italy, KUBE Art Museum, Henie Onstad Art Center, Oslo Art Center and Landmark Bergen Art Hall. Istad has made a series of public site-specific projects such as several landscape projects at Henie Onstad Art Center, DeFence and Traveling ‘SUN’ in Oslo. She has participated at the regional exhibitions and her works have been purchased by KUBE Art Museum, Prime Ministers Office and LUAG Collection (USA). She has received her education from Westerdals School of Communication and Parsons School of Design in New York. Istad has received a series of project grants, artist stipends and support from the government of Norway.
Christine Istad, City Pulse. Photography and video installation. Zoellner Arts Center, Pennsylvania, USA
Luca Curci – When did you start practicing art and why?
Christine Istad – Since I was a child I’ve been interested in drawing and painting. My plan was always to become an artist. I’ve never considered any other profession. Part of the story is that my father is an artist. At school I was always happy in my arts classes. I was never bored. At 15 I bought my first camera, and started taking photographs and using my father’s dark room equipment. I have always been working with art. My first solo show was in 1998 with abstract art photography.
Christine Istad, Speed Pulse. Photography and video installation. Gallery TRAFO, Pennsylvania, USA
L.C. – Can you talk about your artistic work? Which are your inspirations?
C. I – The camera is my tool for finding painterly motifs: I like the fact that they are based on reality. That’s the difference between painting and photography: in the photo, painterly aspects can be discovered through the camera lens; in the reality, in the excerpts. You just need to discover them. My pictures, photography as well as paintings, often spring from a discovery of something striking in my immediate surroundings. The important things are rhythm, depth, surface, color harmony and the balance between forms. And I always try to move on and not repeat myself. My goal is to find the optimal motif. The photographs are straight photography, not manipulated.
My videos are often about ephemeral and essential moments, and focus on details. The same goes for my photographs, where I try to present the observer with an in-depth study of small fragments of reality. Even though the videos contain a number of different themes, a recurring issue is my interest in water and fluids and with this in mind, I try to investigate the video’s formal qualities as a recorder of living images, as a “moving still frame”. Even though the motifs I use in my videos may include dynamic movements, it looks in many ways like a (moving) photograph since no new elements or incidents occur during the running-time of the video. […]
Christine Istad and Erik Wøllo, Elevator. Photography and sound installation. Henie Onstad Art Center, Norway
L.C. – What are you currently working on?
C. I – The Traveling SUN is a road trip video and a site-specific project from 2012-2015 together with my American colleague Lisa Pacini. The Traveling ‘SUN’ is a glowing light sculpture, 3 m in diameter, that shifts between a wide range of warm colors. We brought ourselves from Oslo to Tromsø in wintertime and filmed the entire event. It was cold but wonderful. During the road trip, the Sun-sculpture was suspended above a flatbed trailer pulled by a truck. It stood vertically on a trailer shining all the way up towards the darkness in the north. […] On arrival the ‘SUN’ was mounted on the second floor façade of Tromsø Center of Contemporary Art, where it remained for four months during the darkest part of the year, from November 2012 until February 2013, when the real sun came back. February 2013 the ‘SUN’ was moved on to a ship and travelled by sea all along the Norwegian west coast with M/S Nordkapp on a eight-day voyage from Tromsø to Kirkenes and finally to Bergen.
Christine Istad, Villa Grande. Photography
[…] It made another trip by sea in September, from Bergen to London and was mounted on the façade of Dray Walk Gallery, in connection with the London Design Festival where the SUN was part of the show 100% Norway curated by Henrietta Thompson (Wallpaper) and Benedicte Sunde (The Norwegian Design Council). From October 2013 until April 2014 will the ‘SUN’ be hanging on the second floor façade of The Culture House at Rjukan. So in spring time it will be fit for travelling again. The ‘SUN’ is invited to Henie Onstad Art Center, Norway next winter. The whole journey is documented on photo and film on www.artubeart.blogspot.no. […] I’m now on to something which I expect will be my next project. I am making abstract art works combining painting and photography. I’m currently working on a new series for a solo show next spring in Kunstgalleriet Stavanger, Norway.
Christine Istad and Lisa Pacini, Travelling SUN. Site-specific project
L.C. – What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
C. I – Do not become an artist if you do not have to. You have to be willing to endure hardship and a constant lack of money. You must have something to say, and an inner voice and passion for art. But if you cannot stop yourself, my best advice is to be true to yourself and believe in your own way of doing art. Never give up.
L.C. – What is art for you?
C. I – An artist should have an all important idea or a sense of universality – how things relate to each other, how they fit, and how they somehow hang together. Artists are placed on the side of society and can see the world in a different way, reflect society at the micro and macro levels. Artists have the visual tool of communication. Art is my main interest and my passion. Through art I can experience something new and surprising. Whether I do it myself or experience the work of other artists. I like it when art gives me a total experience both physically and mentally.
Christine Istad, SOLAR 2013. Photography and video installation
L.C. – What do you think about International ArtExpo organization?
C. I – I like the idea that International ArtExpo is founded by a group of independent artists instead of museums and commercial galleries. It gives it more credibility. And I also think ArtExpo can be more flexible and move faster then the established art scene. It is interesting how you connect artists with festivals, institution of art and exhibition venues across the globe.
L.C. – Do you think International ArtExpo organization can represent an opportunity for artists?
C. I – Absolutely.