Luca Curci talks with Sel during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – 8TH EDITION at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Sel is a French-Moroccan artist, yoga teacher and mathematician. Born in Rabat on August 4th, 1986. She has been living for several years in Paris, and she is now half-time based in Argentina, near the Andes Mountains where she found new inspiration. She started painting at the age of 6. Sel is a self-taught artist. She learned by exploring different techniques and by meeting and sharing with other artists. Sel creates her art pieces (paintings and modern sculptures) with the intention of unifying contrasts, using different colors, shapes and techniques… Her artwork, mainly abstract, is focused on assembling different items and connecting them without erasing their diversity. The art pieces of the collection presented are modern sculptures created with acrylic on plastic and copper steel. “Persona” in Latin means ‘Mask’. The same word is used for ‘personalities’ (in English and French) and ‘people’ (in Spanish). This collection is about people. Faces with different colors that express emotions, stories, moments and personalities. With the pandemic, we almost started forgetting all this. So, this artwork is also a way to remember how colorful, diverse and beautiful it is to see full faces. The artworks are moving, to remind us that people/personalities are not static and keep moving and changing. It also allows the viewer to see the backside of the “Persona”, and realize they are all similar. Indeed, despite our diverse personalities, when we look behind the mask, or when we look deep inside, it is a matter of fact that we are all the same.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Sel – I’m a self-taught artist, I paint and draw since the age of 6, and I learned also by meeting and practicing with other artists. The experience that has influenced my work the most is living in Argentina, in the province of Mendoza. During the first lockdown, due to the pandemic, I had more time and focus on my artwork, and I happened to have an artist neighbor with whom I shared and learned a lot. I also consider, in a larger perspective, that my life in itself influences my artwork, as I lived on three different continents, and actually felt the contrast and the union in all those life experiences.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
S – I create my art pieces (paintings and modern sculptures) with the intention of unifying contrasts, using different colors, shapes and techniques… My artwork, mainly abstract, is focused on assembling different items and connecting them without erasing their diversity. What I really like in the artistic process is to mix up different elements that may seem totally opposite at first sight, and to create a kind of harmonious unity. The result is often surprising, or at least, unexpected! I am exploring this concept of creating unity in various ways; for instance, in the series “Persona”, the backsides of the masks are all the same (representing the union, while the front represents more the contrast); in the four paintings entitled “Este Momento”, “Eleven”, “Deep Bloom” and “Passerelles”, there are lines which interconnect, representing the bonds of union. In the painting “Ladder”, the unity is created by the bars of the ladder, stretching from the bottom to the top of the canvas.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
S – The most challenging part of my creative process is knowing when the artwork is done. And when I need just to pause it and come back to it later.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
S – No, not really, I like thinking about the union of contrasts in different ways, without putting too many boundaries to my creative process.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
S – I feel a lot of satisfaction when I complete my artwork. Like something has been said, without using words; I feel like I communicated a lot more through colors and shapes than through speech.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
S – The concept of the exhibition is very interesting as it is focused on contemporary art and it brings together many artists from all over the world. Also, I liked a lot the location in the Venetian famous San Marco Square. It seems like my “Persona” artwork (the masks series) is meant to be exhibited in this city!
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?
S – The paintings were existing artworks, but the art pieces of the “Persona” presented were specially created for the exhibition.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
S – I think it’s an interesting organization, doing incredible work to bring artworks to the public through very well-presented exhibitions in amazing locations!
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
S – I liked the organization and the installation of the artworks. I also liked the fact that you are producing catalogs for the art fair.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
S – For sure.