Interview: SDONIS / Susana Mohr
Luca Curci talks with SDONIS / Susana Mohr during CONSCIOUSNESS, second appointment of ANIMA MUNDI 2022 art fair, at Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal
She was born in Guatemala City, Central América, in 1961, as Susana Donis Paz. She grew up in Guatemala City, went to school there, began studying interior design, drew, designed and studied the history of art. She begins painting during her studies of interior design, at first representationally and with an emphasis on drawing, but already with a great interest in what happens between colour and form that is, painterly. Colour becomes the most important means of expression during these years. She already finds metallic tones of colour interesting. And she discovers her other great passion: dance. At the same time, she works as a teacher, among others at the Universidad San Carlos, IFES, and supervises internships there. In 1983 she is employed at the German School Guatemala and some years later marries a German art teacher in 1987.
She moves with him to Aachen, Germany, in 1990 and lives there for five years. In 1995, the two of them and their three children change life and move to Madrid, Spain, for eight years. A lot happens during these eight years, especially in the field of dance. Intensive training with Carmen Senra, mainly in the field of “Modern Dance“, simultaneously binds and develops her creativity as a dancer and choreographer. She also follows in the footsteps of Pina Bausch. And she continues to draw and paint at the same time. In 2003 she arrives in Hamburg with her family. For thirteen years she has worked as a teacher of art, theatre and dance at a high school, Gymnasium Marienthal. She rediscovers painting on a large scale in Hamburg in 2012, when she starts to spread paint over large areas with a palette knife and combines the results with other techniques. Colour becomes by far the most important part of her visual language and the starting point for other processes.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
SDONIS / Susana Mohr – Art: Transformation of my soul and mind into form and colour.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
SSM – The extremely colourful woven fabrics of indigenes in my mother country Guatemala. My studies in interior design in Guatemala City and in modern dance in Madrid. The changes in my life by all those years in Europe. My connection with the people, the universe and God.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
SSM – I have always had themes. Some of them derive from personal experience, others from the perception of reality, some from the artistic encounter, and some from social phenomenons.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
SSM – Of course, it changed. Otherwise, it means stagnation. Painting has always been an adventure experimenting with different forms of expression for me.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
SSM – As said in answer 3 there are different types of sources and impulses for me. That means, I use both ways and try to combine spontaneous emotion and rational reflection.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
SSM – This Painting was part of some paintings departing from the Ukraine war, thought as reflections on peace and following a series with the title ‘impacto’. It was painted in early march but went well with your main subject ‘consciousness’.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
SSM – I think it is an amazing possibility for artists to take part in a thematically structured exhibition in a magic place like Venice, parallel to the Biennale. The main theme ‘consciousness’ is right now a central issue of 2022. It touches on politics, war, and climate change.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
SSM – I was occupied with colours on a bigger canvas, searching for expressive values in prime colours. A violent red combined with yellow and blue, adding little squares I always use to indicate focus; it was in process when the war started. This changed my process, I was deeply touched emotionally and decided to take in the repeated white hand. This is a symbol with different meanings, bad and good ones. Here I wanted to show the innocence of the many, shouting ‘peace’. The text describes personal thoughts reflecting the actual situation menacing humanity.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
SSM – I really liked the communication with Amaride Ferrante, who was very informative, personal, pleasant and friendly. Thanks a lot!
LC – What do you think about the ITSLIQUID platform?
SSM – I didn’t know anything about ITSLIQUID, till a received in march a message from a German architect living in Italy with a recommendation. I was really impressed by the exhibition: location, themes, system, and aura. Of course, Venice itself is a currency, but I liked your concept very much.