Interview: Iris J. Arnaud | ITSLIQUID

Interview: Iris J. Arnaud

Interviews | April 21, 2024 |

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

Interview: Iris Arnaud
Luca Curci
talks with Iris Arnaud during CONSCIOUSNESS, second appointment of ANIMA MUNDI 2024, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.

Iris J. Arnaud’s artistic journey is deeply rooted in her personal experiences and the profound impact of her upbringing, education, and exploration of various practices such as Kundalini yoga, meditation, and psychoanalysis. These elements have converged to shape her distinctive approach to painting, characterized by vibrant palettes, intricate compositions, and emotional intensity. Her background in both France and the United States has allowed her to blend elements of heritage and modernity, resulting in a unique artistic expression that resonates with viewers on a deep emotional level. Drawing inspiration from abstract expressionism movements and artists such as Oskar Kokoschka, Zao Wou Ki, and Rothko, Arnaud’s work captures the dichotomous effervescence of the human psyche, reflecting a range of emotions from melancholy to enlightenment. Through her paintings, Arnaud seeks to convey the inherent beauty and artistry within humanity, inspiring viewers to find peace, alignment, and connection to their true selves. Her art serves as a visual and emotional dance, inviting viewers to engage in a rich and immersive experience that transcends boundaries and resonates with the complexities of the human experience. Continuing to reside and work in Paris, France, Arnaud’s contributions to the art world serve as a testament to her ability to modernize and feminize the language of abstraction, offering a contemporary and elegant dimension to her creations. Her paintings, described as ethereal and elevating, reflect her ongoing commitment to exploring the depths of human emotion and consciousness through the transformative power of art.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Iris Arnaud –
My artistic journey traces back to my earliest memories, guided by my mother’s nurturing hand as she introduced me to the world of painting at the age of 4. She, herself a talented painter, instilled in me a love for colors and the boundless possibilities of expression on canvas. But our shared passion took a tragic turn when, amidst a long battle with depression, she took her own life. Left grappling with profound grief and loss, I sought solace in my art. Each stroke became a form of therapy, a way to navigate the tumultuous emotions swirling within me. With a heavy heart, I left behind the familiar streets of France and embarked on a journey to the United States, seeking a fresh start and perhaps, some semblance of closure. Yet, even amidst the upheaval of relocation, my commitment to painting only deepened. In the quiet moments of introspection, I turned to meditation, therapy sessions, and the healing embrace of yoga. These practices became not only pillars of support but integral parts of my creative process. They infused my work with a profound sense of depth and introspection, transforming the vibrant colors on my canvas into a reflection of the inner journey I was undertaking. Today, as I stand before my canvases, each brushstroke is imbued with the resilience forged through loss and the wisdom gleaned from years of self-discovery. My art is a testament to the transformative power of healing, a celebration of life’s vibrant hues even amidst its darkest shadows.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
IA –
When I paint, it’s a deeply immersive experience, transcending the boundaries of my mind and body. Before I even touch the canvas, I prepare meticulously, engaging in yoga and meditation to cultivate a state of profound calm and inner peace. With a glass of wine at hand, I gather my colors and sponges, readying myself to embark on a journey of creation. As I delve into painting, something shifts within me. I feel “empty,” not in a void or devoid sense, but rather as a conduit for energy and emotion. In this state, I cease to be merely a brain or a body; instead, I become a vessel, a channel through which creativity and feeling flow freely. Each brushstroke, each dab of color, is not a conscious decision but rather a manifestation of the currents moving through me. Emotions, memories, and sensations surge forth, finding expression on the canvas with an effortless fluidity. In this state of artistic surrender, time seems to slip away, and the outside world fades into insignificance. All that exists is the canvas before me, a blank slate waiting to be imbued with the essence of my being. And as I paint, I find solace, catharsis, and perhaps even a glimpse of transcendence, knowing that in this moment, I am truly connected to something greater than myself.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

LC – Among the several techniques you use, which one do you prefer to practice and which are most compelling for you?
IA –
I love painting with my hands, it is sensual and deep. It is an extraordinary experience, allowing me to transcend the limitations of traditional tools. In that moment, my hands cease to be mere appendages; they become an extension of my being, a direct conduit for my emotions, vibrations, and feelings. As I dip my fingers into the paint, I feel a profound connection to the canvas, as if I’m imprinting a part of myself onto its surface. With each stroke and swipe, I’m not just applying color; I’m channeling the depths of my soul, expressing what words alone cannot convey. It’s a visceral, primal act of creation, where my entire being is poured forth onto the canvas in a raw and unfiltered manner. There’s an intimacy to painting with my hands, a closeness to the medium that allows me to tap into a reservoir of emotion that lies dormant within. In this state, I am neither body nor brain; I am pure energy, flowing through the vessel of my hands and into the art before me. It’s a transcendent experience, one where the boundaries between myself and the act of creation blur and fade away. And in those moments of pure artistic communion, I find a sense of liberation, a freedom to express myself fully and authentically.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

LC – What do you think about art on social media? Are they turning into the new showcases of contemporary art?
IA –
Art on social media is a double-edged sword, offering both unparalleled opportunities for exposure and a platform fraught with complexities. On one hand, it’s truly remarkable to witness how effortlessly artworks can be shared with a global audience, all at the touch of a button and without any cost. This democratization of art promotion has paved the way for emerging artists to showcase their work to the world, bypassing traditional gatekeepers and forging direct connections with enthusiasts and collectors. However, amidst this digital landscape lies a fundamental question: what defines “good” art? The accessibility of social media has blurred the lines between artistic merit and popularity, often leaving us to ponder the authenticity and integrity of what we see. It’s disheartening to witness instances where mediocre pieces are inflated in value simply due to clever marketing or a cult of personality surrounding the artist. This begs the question: where do we draw the line between genuine artistic expression and commercial exploitation? The proliferation of social media has undoubtedly democratized the art world, but it has also raised important concerns about the commodification of creativity and the erosion of critical discourse. While social media offers unprecedented opportunities for exposure and engagement, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and uphold standards of quality and authenticity in our consumption and appreciation of art.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

LC – What issues do you intend to deal with in the future?
IA –
As much as social media and digital selling platforms have revolutionized the art world, there’s a looming concern for the future integrity of artistic expression. While these platforms offer unprecedented accessibility and exposure, they also pose significant risks to authenticity and quality.
One of the most pressing issues is the rise of counterfeit or plagiarized artworks. The ease of sharing and selling art online has made it alarmingly simple for unscrupulous individuals to pass off imitations as original creations or to blatantly copy the work of others. Furthermore, the emphasis on likes, shares, and follower counts can distort perceptions of artistic merit, leading to a culture of popularity over substance. Moreover, the digital landscape introduces new challenges in terms of copyright infringement and intellectual property rights. With artworks easily disseminated across the internet, artists risk losing control over their creations and may struggle to protect their work from unauthorized use or reproduction. Supporting genuine artists, promoting ethical practices, and advocating for greater transparency are crucial steps in preserving the integrity and vitality of the art world in the digital age.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

LC – Your last artistic production attracted us, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
IA –
The two paintings I’ve submitted for the show were created independently of the selection process. Before even knowing I would be selected, I had already poured my heart and soul into these pieces, exploring the theme of consciousness in my own unique way. It’s serendipitous that the theme of this year’s show aligns so closely with the essence of my work. Each brushstroke, each color choice, is imbued with a profound sense of introspection and exploration of the human experience. Consciousness, in all its complexity and depth, serves as both the inspiration and the guiding force behind my artistic expression. Through my art, I seek to delve into the inner workings of the mind, to unravel the mysteries of existence, and to provoke contemplation and reflection in the viewer. Being selected for the show feels like a validation of the authenticity and relevance of my artistic vision. It’s a testament to the power of creativity to transcend boundaries and connect with others on a deeply profound level. I am honored to have the opportunity to share my work with a wider audience and to contribute to the dialogue surrounding such a compelling and thought-provoking theme.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
IA –
For years, my artistic journey has been deeply intertwined with themes of consciousness, therapy, meditation, and self-discovery. These elements have not only influenced my creative process but have also served as a source of inspiration and introspection. The theme of Consciousness resonates with me on a personal and profound level. It speaks to the very essence of my artistic practice, which is rooted in exploring the depths of the human experience and the mysteries of the mind. Through my art, I strive to capture the ineffable qualities of consciousness—its fluidity, its complexities, and its infinite potential for growth and transformation. Participating in this exhibition is not just an opportunity to showcase my work; it’s a chance to engage in a dialogue with other artists and viewers who share a passion for exploring the realms of consciousness and self-awareness. I am grateful for the platform provided by Itsliquid group and the Venice Biennale to share my artistic vision and to contribute to a broader conversation about the nature of consciousness and its significance in contemporary art.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
IA –
Working with the Itsliquid group has been a delightful experience from start to finish. The application process was straightforward and user-friendly, making it easy for me to submit my work for consideration. Once selected, the communication with the team was seamless and effortless. I appreciated the open dialogue and the collaborative spirit of the Itsliquid team. They were responsive to my questions and feedback, and their professionalism and attention to detail instilled confidence in the entire process. It’s refreshing to work with a group that values clear communication and values the artists they represent. Overall, my cooperation with Itsliquid group has been nothing short of exceptional. They have created a supportive and nurturing environment for artists, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their exhibition during the Venice Biennale.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
IA –
The digital platform provided by Itsliquid group has been a valuable resource throughout my collaboration with them. Not only is it easy to navigate, but it also contains all the information I need in one accessible place. As a visual person, I greatly appreciate the abundance of visuals available on the platform, from high-quality images of artworks to virtual tours of exhibitions. The platform’s user-friendly interface makes it simple to explore upcoming events, learn about participating artists, and stay updated on the latest news and announcements. Whether I’m browsing on my computer or mobile device, I can easily access all the features and content with just a few clicks.

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Image courtesy of Iris Arnaud

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