Luca Curci talks with Flaca during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2021, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Born in 1974 in Caracas, Venezuela, Flaca experienced a childhood influenced by a political and religious environment in a country torn by violence and crime. She grew up with her socially committed grandparents. Her grandfather Dr. Pedro Alejandro De Armas, as director of the medical faculty and later vice-minister of health under Chavéz, faced high social pressure. At the age of 10, Flaca emigrated to Germany with her family and began an architecture internship after graduating from high school. The work in the internship and the subsequent employment as well as the love for fashion drawings finally led her to paint. Flaca was born with a genetically inherited muscle disorder that largely limits her mobility. But it was this alleged shortcoming that gave her the strength and energy to further develop her artistic skills on an autodidactic basis and thus give her ideas and models a public view. At first, she experimented with oil paint on canvas, but then turned more and more to digital Pop Art mixed with elements of realism. Due to her physical limitations, she initially worked with self-portraits – just one of the parallels to Frida Kahlo. Both women campaign for women’s rights with their art. In the public perception, both artists are often compared to one another, also due to the expressive color design. Flaca Goudet is married and now lives and works in Cologne. With her graphic artwork, she fights for the emancipation of women, liberalism, tolerance and the free disposal of one’s own body. The struggle for equality between men and women and the hypocrisy of religiosity have always preoccupied Mercedes Alejandra “Flaca” Goudet and are now expressed in her art. While traveling home, she collected numerous impressions and processed them in her pictures. Dealing with justice is one of the central themes. Over the years, Flaca has gone from being a Cologne underground artist to a respected personality in the German art scene. In 10 years she designed and realized around 70 exhibitions. The fascination with femininity allows Flaca a radicalism in the cloak of aesthetics. The strong woman in her painful struggle for open self-expression is allowed to stage herself as the main artist of her art. Female art icons like Frida Kahlo and the rebellion of Urban art inspire Flaca in her work. Large-format photo collages of detailed portraits mixed with elements of realism form the framework of her digital art. Flaca says about herself: “My art is colorful and loud – like the thoughts in my head”.
Luca Curci – How did you get to photography? Do you remember why you took your first professional photo?
Flaca – I came to photography through painting and the search for motifs. My pictures are a mixture of photographs and paintings. The starting point of my art is always a photo, that I edit digitally. Then I add my own drawings and small works of art that I make, they are scanned and digitally processed. So these colleges are a mixture of many different art techniques. My first professional photo was a self-portrait for the picture “Life and Death of a Princess Bee”
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
Flaca – The balance between motif and statement. A good picture has to appeal to me and evoke a certain feeling. I don’t care about light and colors, it has to stimulate my imagination. I focus on different details. Right now it’s mostly on facial expressions. Also, Hands are my favorite details at the moment, but I work a lot with symbolism. Like the human heart in the picture Bondage No. 2 or Fragile No. 1.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
Flaca – My art is often inspired by current political and social events. But I can also be inspired by a song, a poem or a film.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
Flaca – Feminism is a very strong theme in my art. The strong woman in her painful struggle for open self-expression is allowed to stage herself as the main artist of my work. To me strength is the courage to stand up for one’s wishes and needs, to fight and to rebel, if necessary. So women in art in general, i.e. as the main protagonist of a piece of art or as artists themselves, are my preferred subjects.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it like your medium of expression?
Flaca – Art is a very important form of expression for me. I mainly do pop art, art for the people. So I often deal with current topics. I express how I feel about certain conditions.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival?
Flaca – I think the festival is organized extraordinarily well, especially in these times, where it is hard to exhibit art and reach people. I hope to visit it personally in the future as I don’t know Venice and really love to get to know the city.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
Flaca – The focus of my art is the woman in society, what status she has and where there are grievances. In the picture “Nasty Woman” I dealt with President Trump and what he said to Hillary Clinton. He called her a nasty woman during a debate. As a result, women in the US turned the Trump election slogan “Make America Great Again” into “Make America Nasty again” to protest against him. I also address Trump’s migration policy. The picture “God Save the King” is about equal rights for women. Women around the world should be able to be who they and what they want – even a king. In my other 3 works, I was inspired by Japan and the art of tying, which is called bondage. In my art, bondage is a symbol for the free disposal of a woman’s own body. I tried to create a feeling of floating with the balloons and also tried to modernize the bondage motifs with these balloons. It makes them lighter. I like to reinterpret traditional motifs and with that, I hope to make them more accessible to the viewer.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
Flaca – I’m very grateful to be part of this exhibition and I admire you for your courage to set up this whole event in these uncertain and also difficult times.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
Flaca – Absolutely. And I hope to be part of future exhibitions as well!
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
Flaca – You give artists a platform that is organized very very well. I can feel, that you guys as a team are really dedicated to art. There is always someone nice and helpful available if questions or problems pop up. Thank you for that!