Interview: Thelma Pott
Luca Curci talks with Thelma Pott during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – 9TH EDITION, at Misericordia Archives.
Thelma Pott was born in 1984. After finishing her studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon, she took her MA in Curatorial Studies at the Royal Academy of Arts of the University of Coimbra in Portugal. In 2013 she won the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Project Grant. She started exhibiting her work in 2017 has one of the artists from the art coalition HANDS OFF OUR REVOLUTION in the group show Poster! at BlackBall Projects Gallery in New York. In Autumn 2019 she won the Reclaim Award in Cologne, Germany. She exhibited in New York, London, Cologne, Rome, Florence and Venice. Her work featured in the Canadian art magazine Art Ascent, in the British art magazines Aesthetica, Inside Artists, Art Hole and BlueBee: Amaryllis. Her photographic work can be seen in LensCulture.
LUCA CURCI – Which subject are you working on?
THELMA POTT – I’m interested in the power of abstraction to reorganize visual and psychological experience.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
TP – I started out as a figurative painter, painting for over seven years prior to 2018 when I made a dramatic change, burned most of my initial paintings and embarked upon a new approach to painting and a transition to abstraction with the series Lotus Flower. This shift in my painting practice was personally very difficult because abstraction is more emotive and has a different type of immediacy. I consider this series to be a landmark in my career because it represents a completely new approach to producing images.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
TP – The contemporary artists’ role in society is hard to define due to the complexity of their work. After Duchamp and Beuys boundaries ceased to exist. An artist can be a philosopher, a researcher, a collector, a pioneer, an activist, an environmentalist, a scientist, an educator or plain and simply an individual who produces work with the intent of it becoming a work of art. An artist is a creator and a thinker, someone who observes time, space, culture and society, shares his/her perspective and directs the public’s attention to his/her subject matter.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
TP – Absolutely. They are a reflection on the concept of heterotopia by French philosopher Michel Foucault.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
TP – I reflect on them. It’s interesting for me to consider other perspectives than my own.
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?
TP – Lotus Flower XVII is part of an ongoing series initiated back in 2018 with the same title.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
TP – Even though this is my first collaboration with Itsliquid, I found the multidisciplinary approach to the theme very interesting and consider it to truly align with my work. As previously stated my work is a reflection about certain socio-cultural, discursive and institutional spaces that function in non-hegemonic conditions because in these spaces coexist other spaces as well. They are spaces within spaces. Foucault refers to gardens of antiquity, cemeteries, ships, etc. This ninth edition of Contemporary Venice analyzes the relationship between body and space and the hybridization between identities and cultural, physical and social contexts in contemporary time. The focus was on mixing identities and future landscapes. Your vision of future landscapes as abstract, infinite and conceptual has to do with the conceptual groundwork of my painting practice.
LC – What do you think about ITS LIQUID Platform?
TP – I appreciate the fact that it works with multidisciplinary artists, it’s based in important European cities and it connects art professionals worldwide.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
TP – I consider the choice of venue for this exhibition truly wonderful. The press preview was appealing and the opening night clearly mirrors the work of an incredibly organised team.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
TP – I would definitely suggest a collaboration with Itsliquid because your producers and curators work internationally, support the artists in the whole process of the exhibition’s planning and are open to discussing different proposals for the artistic projects.