Interviews | June 17, 2021 |

Image courtesy of Elia Kleiber

Interview: Elia Kleiber
Luca Curci talks with during BODIES+CITIES SKIN, the first appointment of BORDERS ART FAIR 2021, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

Born 1939 in Colmar (Alsace), she studied art history, literature and painting. She had workshop creation experience like the organization of workshop for young people and migrant visitors at National Folk Arts and Traditions Museum and African and Oceanian Arts National Museum (Paris 1983-1991) and travel experience as curator. Fullbright granted her to study art pedagogy in the American museums (1978). She stayed in the Middle East from 1993 to 2003. As painter, she currently lives and works in Ivry-sur-Seine (France).

Image courtesy of Elia Kleiber

Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Elia Kleiber – In 2011 I started to work on the construction sites, for there was a huge working place in my neighborhood. The subject was fascinating. I asked the City Hall for a permanent entrance pass. And I made a cycle of 4 great paintings and 5 drawings in using photos printed on canvas, mixed with painting. When the buildings were finished, it seemed obvious to observe what was going inside this place and especially on the side of the new inhabitants ! That’s m’y subject now, that is life.

LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
EK – I got this practice by myself, after researches applied before to
numerous paintings.

LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
EK – Yes, my style changed several times, from figurative to abstraction and from abstraction to new figuration. And the materials too.

LC – What is your creative process like?
EK – The artistic process is starting long before execution:
looking for subjects connected with your emotions, your convictions,
your wishes, exploring the way to translate them in a creative language. To observe the subject until it is part of you. Then comes the last step: the fight with the materials.

Image courtesy of Elia Kleiber

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
EK – I find my topics mostly in the cities and in the industrial world. But I am interested in people as well. I made many portraits.

LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
EK – My works were not created for the Festival, they were preexisting. But to me they were joining exactly the exhibition’s topic: “bodies + cities skin “. That’s why I decided to offer my candidature.

LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
EK – In the cities folds, there are hidden islands : the construction sites. However, no borders inside of these places. As the workers are coming from all emergent countries, they are the very symbol of globalization. Under the white helmet, black faces. Under the grey jumpsuits, golden skins. Working, walking, dreaming among concrete flows and noise of machines, on the edge of tremendous holes. In the city, nobody is paying attention to them. They seem nearly transparent. They are the foreigners, the migrant workers. Here is the border, the invisible frontier. These bodies, between freedom and servitude. As for me, I move among them in a path to the borders of expression, to bring them out as modern heroes.

Image courtesy of Elia Kleiber

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