Interview: Petra von Kazinyan
Luca Curci talks with Petra von Kazinyan during BODIES+CITIES SKIN, first appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Petra von Kazinyan lives and works in Vienna, Austria. After her studies at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt/M., her paintings have been shown in numerous exhibitions and art fairs in Austria and abroad. Recent exhibitions include a solo show in the course of the Venice Biennale 2019, Woman Art Award 2017 in Paris, Art Austria 2016 and Art Beijing 2012. Oscillating between figuration and abstraction, she uses painting as a medium of natural expression, focussing on the concept of identity in a globalized and digital world. Different levels of perception alternate in scenery between dream and reality, past and future. Petra von Kazinyan’s work reflects our present in many ways: the rapid change in her artistry, the instability and fragility of forms, and the transformation of space through experience.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Petra von Kazinyan – Self-expression; coping with reality – it’s just something that has always been there and can’t be separated from my inner self. Like Christo once said: When you’re an artist, you’re always an artist, there’s not one second in your life when you’re not an artist.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
PVK – My creative talent was recognized and encouraged at an early age, but nevertheless I refused to go to art school. I decided that nobody could teach me art, and so I went to University for literature and philosophy studies. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. In my childhood, shortly before I went to school, I once had an interesting experience: I remember one afternoon when I was thinking about eternity – which was nothing unusual because I’ve always been interested in philosophical issues – and when I tried to visualize the concrete meaning of this big term, ETERNITY, I realized the limitation of my own personal existence. It was quite disturbing; and then I decided to shape my life in a self-determined, meaningful way.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
PVK – In anything that touches or moves me in a special and deep way: a dream, a fleeting impression, a travel memory… After all, art always originates from the individual. He or she experiences, perceives something and feels the need to share it. Stimulus and reaction are unconsciously brought into accordance.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
PVK – I aim to explore the human ego and the transformation of space through experience in my work, focusing on the concept of identity in a globalized world. Different levels of perception alternate in scenery between dream and reality, past and future. Our time requires a new way of expression, an awareness of space and time that corresponds to the changing conditions of the digital era and has to be reflected in art.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
PVK – My work oscillates between realism and abstraction; over the years, I turned from figuration to pure abstraction, then things started to get more figurative again. To me, realism and abstraction complement each other; due to their reciprocal relationship, one results from the other, it’s an eternal cycle.
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?
PVK – The painting ESCAPE, currently on view in your BORDERS exhibition, is part of my ALTER IDEM series from 2014, and it even was the first painting of the series – it started with this piece. Interestingly, the whole series is kind of trending right now and has recently aroused great interest, so the time is now to put it in the spotlight. ESCAPE is my reinterpretation of Pere Borrell Del Caso’s painting ESCAPING CRITICISM (1874), and it illustrates the phenomenon of border crossings – for this reason it was predestined for the current group show. In times of the coronavirus, it also gained a total new meaning as the new invisible borders generated by the pandemic are creating new ways of living everyday life, and also the global quarantine experience causes the urgent human desire to escape, to break out of this situation.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
PVK – Absolutely, and I think you nailed it with the theme of the BORDERS festival this year – it’s quite visionary to show how various artists, architects and designers from all over the world experience this new era, exploring the connection between all the desires, needs and fears that brings humankind to change. Appropriately, the second painting which is currently exhibited in Venice is one of my quarantine paintings, created this spring in the silence of the lockdown.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
PVK – I really like your interdisciplinary approach to art because the boundaries are often fluid.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
PVK – Yes, for sure; I appreciate your professionalism and open-mindedness, forming the basis for a smooth and harmonious collaboration.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
PVK – Definitely, art has to be seen, and the organization of exhibitions has always been essential for artists, especially in times like these. It’s fantastic that you managed to realize this group show against the backdrop of a global pandemic.