Interview: Ladina Clément
Luca Curci talks with Ladina Clément during ANIMA MUNDI FESTIVAL 2019 – CONSCIOUSNESS at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Ladina Clément’s inter-disciplinary practice uses sculpture as the catalyst for her multi-media installations, often working with the process of casting using unexpected materials or presenting ordinary objects in surprising ways. A dialogue is created between the mediums. She employs subtle humour as a way of instigating and promoting participation, hoping to make the gallery space more inclusive. Her work can often contain elements of performance or audience interaction. Clément’s multi-faceted approach questions her experiences, human behaviours and institutional systems that surround her. The physical and digital, the three and two-dimensional, the past and present intertwine; they are products of one another. Earlier this year she was nominated for the Bath Open Art Prize, featuring work at 44ad Gallery and an event at The Holburne Museum. Clément has exhibited in prestigious venues in Edinburgh including Summerhall (2018), Edinburgh College of Art (2015-18) and St Margaret’s House (2018), as well as Six Food Gallery (2018) in Glasgow. Her work will soon feature in Manchester’s AIR Gallery (23rd August – 21st September 2019). Clément’s artwork is held in several private collections.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Ladina Clément – I have a BA (Honours) degree in Sculpture from Edinburgh College of Art. I was born and grew up in London. My multi-national family has always enjoyed art, design and travelling. From a young age I visited museums, galleries and art fairs in London and abroad. I have gained numerous experiences in relation to art, from playing hide and seek in a room full of mist, being told off for leaning against a wall, or seeing people treat a museum like a church. The rules, happenings and behaviour’s that occur in the gallery setting now fascinate me. My wacky and wonderful experiences of art have led me to question society’s behaviour in my own practice.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
LC – My piece in the exhibition: ‘Production Code: 200330110’ (2016) examines the ever-present issues of mass production. It draws parallels between the fabrication of chipboard and the craftsmanship of woodcarving, while probing into humanity’s effects on nature and our manipulation of it. Chipboard is a sheet material often used in the production of buildings or furniture. It is made of compressed wood chips and resin. This idea developed when I was learning how to carve wood. The curled chips that flew off the block of timber fascinated me; I found them to have a lot of movement and expression. I collected the chips to re-form them, compressing them in resin to create my own version of chipboard. I paired the sculpture with the original piece of holly from which it was carved, creating a dialogue between the two forms.
LC – What is your creative process like?
LC – Despite the subject of my work varying from project to project, my creative process often starts with a recollected experience or observation, which then leads onto a specific material or object. I go onto research through reading, investigating artwork and watching films. The audience’s place in the work is very important to me and this is something I heavily consider. As a graduate in Sculpture I value the place of craft in contemporary art; casting being a process that features heavily in my work.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
LC – The themes of each of my projects can vary hugely; I have created work exploring the artworld itself, consumerism, the food industry, and human behaviour. I enjoy keeping my practice active and to challenge myself with new areas of research. Since creating ‘Production Code: 200330110’ I have gone onto make multimedia installations. My current practice is very interdisciplinary, consisting of not only sculpture but photography, video and interactive elements.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
LC – As an emerging artist I have found it to be a challenging career. I have to split my time between my studio and working a part time job. I would of course prefer to be an artist full time without financial concerns and constraints. However the percentage of artists whom earn enough from their practice alone is nominal. When I was younger, I pictured myself romantically as a “struggling artist”, but in reality it is not quite so romantic. Whenever I have reservations I try to remind myself not to give up because being creative and making work is exactly what brings me purpose, joy and fulfilment.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of pre-existing works?
LC – ‘Production Code: 200330110’ was part of a previous project from which other works manifested.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
LC – I believe your vision of art to be highly appropriate. Anima Mundi is a broad and suitable theme that prompts reflection on very present issues; our relationship and interaction with the planet and each other, spanning topics from climate change, to LGBTQ rites, to BAME (black and minority ethnic) people. The open call format is a great way for artists of all career stages and backgrounds to have the opportunity to exhibit internationally.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
LC – I would be very happy to collaborate with you, as I’m sure we could create interesting and new opportunities together. Your services were professional. The exhibition was curated well.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
LC – Very much, Giulia and Luca were helpful and very friendly throughout the exhibition process.