Interviews | June 15, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl

Interview: Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl
Luca Curci talks with Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl during MIXING IDENTITIES 2023, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.

“Swiss Sarah Montani, known for her paintings and sculptures, joined forces with steel artist Andrea Stahl to create a groundbreaking art piece. They transformed a real metal sculpture of a woman’s torso into a weightless virtual twin sculpture using Augmented Reality (AR). This pioneering free artwork represents the first of its kind in Europe, combining a physical steel sculpture with the immersive world of AR. The curator describes AR as a new reality that shapes our identities of tomorrow, echoing the words of philosopher David Chalmers. The sculpture can be experienced at The Line Contemporary Art Space in London, offering a fascinating encounter with new technologies through art. Visitors even have the opportunity to take the sculpture with them for free. The sculpture will later travel to Central Park in New York and will be exhibited in MMOMA, the Metaverse Museum of Modern Art.”

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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl

Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl – Right now, we place our statue in over 30 Museums around the world. With Geolocation. As women are still underrepresented in museums, we just do it now, without asking. The AR art “appears” in the physical environment of the Museum and can be perceived through the eye of the smartphone camera – thanks to the latest technology (called GEO AR), this can only be accessed within a radius of 100m on the Museum site. The AR art is three-dimensional, non-touchable, odourless and weightless.

This new art form is a phenomenon that cannot be described adequately in words: The fascination comes from experiencing it, trying it out and “seeing it with your own eyes.” It is one of the first artworks that combines AR with steel and is available without application. Augmented Reality is redefining the way art creators engage with other artists, as well as art collectors and art lovers. The novel artwork can be taken away by visitors. Art lovers become art makers themselves here, as they can reinstall and visualize the virtual artwork.

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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl

LC – Is there an unrealised or unrealisable project, even a crazy one, that you would like to work on?
SM & AS – Yes. As there are a lot of naked women statues in public spaces, I would like to make this visible. Men are usually dressed and are real historical personalities. Women are mostly nacked, and in Switzerland, Italy, and Germany…you almost don’t find a statue that shows a real historical woman. Women has been systematically forgotten in history – because historian was man. I talked about this in my TED Talk. If you go to the information of my New York exhibition you can see how you can dress a statue with augmented reality.

My dream is that other women and men all over the world help me to make some photos from all these monuments and get them dressed. The problem is not that they are nacked; The problem is that those artworks are mostly made by men: Museums around the world still just buy 10% of art from woman artists, and 90% from men. The second problem is that there are a lot of historical woman, but they are still invisible. So I believe that young men and women deserve to see role models from men and woman. Here is a quote from our art curator “The combination of steel with futuristic technologies as well as the unique design process are indeed quite new in art history. (…) Sarah Montani thus designs ‘SFERISM’, a new unique direction that we can speak of as art with PLUS”, says Martha Götz, art historian from Stuttgart.

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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
SM & AS – Titled “MIXING IDENTITIES”, the London exhibition focuses on reconstructing new identities, emphasizing their importance in adapting to the changing contemporary world. The process of self-construction is explored through our continuous interactions with other people’s identities, as well as those of communities, cultures, and societies. The event delves into the human body as a dynamic system that connects us with other bodies and spaces, enabling us to perceive reality and communicate through its own language and infinite forms of expression. Montani and Stahl analyze the concealed aspects of our identities through an immersive AR art piece, inviting viewers to experience the complex labyrinth of consciousness. This thought-provoking experience raises questions about reality, gravity, and the boundaries of perception.

Accompanying the sculpture is a video installation showcasing the woman in AR, seamlessly integrated into the beautiful natural landscapes of Switzerland. Filmed amidst the country’s fresh mountains, rivers, and lakes, the video installation demonstrates the blending of realities through AR art in natural surroundings. This artwork breaks free from the confines of the gallery space, allowing the audience to experience it in the open air. The choice to depict the female body is intentional, as women continue to be underrepresented in the art world, as discussed in Sarah Montani’s TED Talk. The juxtaposition of the female form against the backdrop of mother nature adds another layer of meaning to the artwork.

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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl

LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
SM & AS – In co-creating with other persons.

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
SM & AS – I love the concept, it is the future.

LC – What is art for you?
SM & AS – Art is sharing the pleasure of beauty. Art is exploring new possibilities of showing artworks in public spaces and nature with augmented reality and new technologies.

LC – What are the three hashtags essential to define your poetics that you could not give up?
SM & AS – Sferism (this is a new art movement), AugmentedRealityArt, Contemporary art

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
SM & AS – Of course!

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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl
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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl
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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl
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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl
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Image courtesy of Sarah Montani & Andrea Stahl

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