Interview: Vanessa Gkouliopoulou
Luca Curci talks with Vanessa Gkouliopoulou during FUTURE LANDSCAPES, third appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Passionate about arts and science Vanessa Gkouliopoulou is an artist with a surveying engineering background. Her work is based on the use of 3D laser scanning technology as a medium for creating ‘point cloud’ art prints. The creative process evolves through capturing and exploring a variety of subjects in the real world. Interested in discovering hidden forms in everyday objects, humans postures and built or natural complexes. Her work is an ode to the real world. To celebrate the existing, to question the documented and to explore different perspectives of something well defined. She believes that by finding beauty in what surrounds us we are able to accept reality, praise the different and remain curious about life.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Vanessa Gkouliopoulou – Art is an essential part of my life. It is what allows me to ‘escape’ and keep me motivated. Art in all different forms, whether it is a film, a painting, a performance or a sculpture, has the power to stimulate us, to provoke our thoughts and awaken our feelings.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
VG – I hold a degree in surveying engineering and a master in conservation, restoration and preservation of cultural monuments. I worked in Greece for several years mainly documenting archaeological sites and historical buildings before I moved to the UK 7 years ago. While working as a surveyor in London, I got more involved with reality capture projects and the use of 3D laser scanning (a method for accurate measuring). I was fascinated by the outcome of this technology creating ‘point clouds’ (meshes of 3D coordinates describing the surrounding space). Moreover, I was always passionate about the arts, so the idea of exploiting 3D laser scanning as an artistic means came almost like a natural evolution to me. The boundaries between being an artist and a scientist are a bit blurry in my case. Let’s say that my scientific career was pivotal for my artistic development.
LC – What is your creative process like?
VG – Every subject of my work pre-exists as a living piece of the world. My intuition and personal aesthetic are guiding my choices and inspiration come from observing the environment around me. I experiment with capturing subjects of different materials, textures, colors and sizes. The result comes out as the point cloud which can be manipulated in a 3D digital environment, following some technical routines. Looking beyond its metric dimension I focus on the aesthetic value of the point cloud. The creative process unfolds as I explore different perspectives and views. I am interested in discovering hidden forms in everyday objects, body postures and silhouettes, built spaces or natural complexes. My intention is exactly this, to allow the audience to experience the real world from a different point of view.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
VG – I believe that artists nowadays have a lot of means to express themselves and show their work. Regardless of the pandemic that has put on hold a lot of artistic events and face to face meetings, there is potential for online presence and networking. On the other hand, this can be overwhelming and requires a lot of effort. Platforms like ITS LIQUID are definitely contributing to supporting and promoting artists and their work.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
VG – I distinguish my work into 3 different categories based on the theme and scale of the subject captured: objects, people and spaces. Each collection is manipulated in a different manner. For the objects, I look into experimenting with different materials, textures, and forms. With people, I examine postures that can provoke feelings. With spaces, I pursue to reveal details, symmetries or complexities. The process is the most important part of my work, observing the details of how the profile of a subject is changing and how shapes interact to each other.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
VG – The idea of examining how borders affect our lives and our behavior and how they are forming future landscapes is very interesting and relevant to the times we live in. My personal experience of leaving the borders of my country made me realize how vague boundaries – we often set ourselves – can be, and on the other hand, how challenging it is to overcome these limitations and find balance in a constantly transforming environment. So certainly I found the theme inspiring.
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?
VG – I already had the raw material but the work ‘Rooted Identities’ was created for the Borders Festival. When I read the theme description I thought about the connection of the tree as a representative symbol to future landscapes and the deep connection with our existence. The tree, an organism that grows and develops according to the environmental circumstances and external (human) interventions, is juxtaposed with the evolution of a personality. We interact with our immediate environment and develop in different directions, similarly to the roots of a tree and the branches that grow randomly inside the earth and above. Our identities are an amalgam of various factors. Traces of other people’s personalities, the experiences we live, the knowledge we have acquired, our preferences and the resources that we seek or allow to influence us. And we have two different sides. The exposed and visible part, related to our social life and the invisible one, that exists within us, hidden from the rest of the world. The latter is the most vital one – like the roots of a tree – and is what we strive to nurture in order to keep in harmony and coordinate our existence with the world, a notion plain to perceive, yet so hard to achieve.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
VG – ITS LIQUID is a well-organized platform with rich content and a significant online presence, that celebrates art in all forms. Hence I believe it’s a great opportunity for artists to present their work here.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
VG – It was a pleasure to collaborate with ITS LIQUID GROUP. My experience has been excellent altogether from the initial correspondence to my visit to the gallery. The team is very supportive and friendly and I hope to collaborate again with you in the future.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
VG – The support you provide to artists is very important. I hope that the future brings more opportunities for live events, as in person contact is often irreplaceable.