Interview: Špela Fridau
Luca Curci talks with Špela Fridau during the 10th Edition of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Špela Fridau, born in 1993 in Maribor, attended and graduated from the Secondary School of Design in Maribor, where she obtained her education in graphic design. She continued her education at the Faculty of Education in Maribor, where she graduated in art pedagogy in 2019 and then enrolled in a master’s degree, where she is currently a graduate of the art pedagogy study program. Between 2016 and 2019, she participated in several group exhibitions of the department of fine arts students in the Media nox gallery (Maribor) and in 2018 in the Robin gallery in Murska Sobota. In 2019 and 2020 she was included in the international group exhibition of the festival Kaos – Škrlavec Tower Gallery (Kranj), and in 2020 she presented herself with an independent virtual exhibition Mindgarden of the Media Nox Gallery in Maribor. In 2021, she received an award from the Public Fund of the Republic of Slovenia for Cultural Activities for the collage “Blues”.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Špela Fridau – I am mainly attracted to surrealism, and within the works, I do not stick to a constant theme, but rather it varies from work to work. I try to present all my creations through imagination – in unrealistic forms and connections because I find this way the most interesting. My artworks are created from situations that I find interesting or from situations that offer the possibility of becoming interesting through the creative process. Sometimes I also look for motifs based on the principle of free associations, I connect and choose elements that I find attractive, and from them, a story is unconsciously woven into the final form, which each individual can see/read differently.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
SF – I fell in love with collage during my studies, during one of the courses at the Faculty of Education in Maribor. Since the subject and the professor were still unknown, we were given the task of introducing ourselves through the collage technique. I really enjoyed this process, so I continued this kind of creation. However, since I also have some knowledge of computer design programs, which I acquired in high school for design when I was studying to be a graphic designer, I thought it was an interesting and logical attempt to create collages also in digital form, which is currently my primary expression, as it allows much more possibilities and freedom. At the same time, it seems to me that the charm of analogue collage lies precisely in the limitation that forces you to create something from predetermined forms that cannot be significantly manipulated. In short, I like both ways, each in its own way.
LC – How is your creative process?
SF – When creating digital collages, my work takes place in Photoshop and Illustrator. It always ends in Photoshop, where I combine the products of these two programs. I cut motifs from existing ones or take my own photo, which I process and add various elements to within the aforementioned program. During the process, I manipulate the elements with various tools offered by the mentioned programs (from brushes, shadows, lighting, changing colours, shapes, etc.) so that I get a coherent final form. When I start analogue creation, I use clippings from various magazines and catalogues that catch my attention and I flip through them several times and keep them in drawers. I find vivid and colourful, preferably unusual motifs the most interesting.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
SF – As I already mentioned, my artworks differ in terms of themes and I do not stick to a specific theme. It also often happens that even before I create, I don’t have a set theme, but instead, it develops through the creative process and means a kind of game to me, which then probably subconsciously turns into a definable theme.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
SF – Creating and researching is important, expressing yourself through any medium just suits you and consequently fulfils you. I find creative expression very relaxing and brings me psychological satisfaction. If you don’t, it’s better not to do it, because art hardly represents a main and sufficient source of income, which is an important factor for physical survival.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
SF – The collage combines different worlds. In my work, I connected figural, still life and landscape in my own way, which at first glance have no points of contact, but the condensed content and intertwined world reflect the times in which we live.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
SF – My collages show artificially created fantasy environments in which there are also human bodies, carriers and connectors of souls and creators of unlimited imagination, which is necessary for creative expression. Because humans are mental beings trapped inside our bodies, which are known to us, we can identify with the forms of human forms, while the unreal and varied environments become more familiar and acceptable. Various states of the human spirit are shown, with which we can connect through familiar experiences.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
SF – I think and I wish it were true. In my opinion, any presentation of artists to the public is welcome for both the artist and the audience, and I think that Venice is the place where people who are interested in this kind of field go. Definitely, in addition to fulfilling your inner desire to create, share your creation with others is also important, because I perceive art as an important part of the mental part of life.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
SF – I am because you have people in your team who quickly and kindly provide guidance on various dilemmas and questions that I encountered during the process. My experience so far has been very pleasant, and the exhibition I was able to see live is effectively set up so that the work of each artist comes to the fore.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
SF – I love the enthusiasm and variety of the program you provide. The showrooms and locations you choose are also very pleasant. As I have already expressed, I am happy about the organizations that support and strive for the presentation of works of art.