Interview: Vethan Sautour
Luca Curci talks with Vethan Sautour during VISIONS, third appointment of ANIMA MUNDI 2022, at Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal.
Vethan Sautour is a French conceptual artist based in Vienna, Austria. Upon completion of her Bachelors in Law and Art History at La Sorbonne in Paris as well as a Master’s Degree in the Art Market and International Business, she entered the United Nations. There, the causes she worked for lent her the ideas that would shape and give birth to her art series, believing that art has the power to spur change in society. Thusly, the artist decided to start by focusing on two main issues: animal extinction and climate change. To do so, she uses a variety of mediums, such as photography, sculpture and painting, choosing what will induce the best impact. The year 2018 marked her first exhibition in Florence, which since then has been followed by a constant flow of opportunities to showcase her works, including among other hotspots Paris, London, Zürich, Berlin, South Korea and Dubai. In 2020, she won the Kalos Art Prize for one of her paintings from the “Medici” series. Her first solo exhibition will be taking place in 2022 with The Holy Art Gallery based in London, presenting her photographic and sculpture series.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Vethan Sautour – I was passionate about the arts all my life, carrying around a thick notebook, a pencil and an eraser pretty much everywhere to copy what I was seeing, whether it be monuments, sculptures, paintings, sceneries. What made me take the step to becoming a professional artist is when I stopped doing it just for my own personal pleasure and love for art, but because I had messages I wanted to convey. After completing my Master’s Degree, I started working for the United Nations and being in this work environment, dedicated to assisting others in a variety of different ways, led me to concentrate myself on a couple of specific causes, which stuck to me in the long run and I realised that I wanted to not only work as a “technician” so to speak, but also using art, as I believe artists have the incredible power of spurring emotions and creating reactions in the onlookers. Thusly, the topics that I felt were most important to me were animal extinction and welfare, as well as climate change. Henceforwar, I chose the means to express my ideas conceptually in what seemed to me to be the best way possible – sculpture and photography – while combining it with an aesthetic, poetic aspect, so as to appeal to the viewer on an emotional, visual and intellectual level.
LC – What are your thoughts while you create your sculptures and photographs? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
VS – I need to keep my brain fully focused on the making of the art to create exactly what I have in mind. To do so, I always have something playing in the background, which varies depending on the level of concentration I need to acquire – it can be thunder or sea noises, music or a podcast, it really depends. Otherwise, my brain thinks about millions of things at the same time and the making process will not be as satisfying and pristine.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
VS – Most definitely! I went from practicing the art of drawing for myself, to starting professionally as a painter, to finally in the last years finding my voice and gaining maturity through my sculpture and photographic series.
LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
VS – My favourite thematic at this point in time and in which I am fully invested is raising awareness in regards to dangers incurred by animal species and how much their fate is intertwined with climate change and by extension with ours. In the last few years, I have also been working on the side for NGOs as a volunteer, so I am definitely trying to aid the cause in any possible way and address the widest possible audience.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
VS – The prime idea is always like a love at first sight or a “Eureka” moment, and hereafter, I work for weeks on how to best put it into words, figuring out each and every detail of its making, its potential impact and the pragmatic components. During the actual making of the art, my hands are copying what my brain has been envisioning and once it is done, it feels like it has always been there.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
VS – The first exhibition I participated in with the ITSLIQUID GROUP is called “ANIMA MUNDI – VISIONS”, so most definitely. I was very enthusiastic about participating in this exhibition, because of the thematic which definitely fits what I am trying to accomplish, and it is always a good surprise to see actors of the art market trying to steer the boat’s helm in such directions. We definitely need more of these as I believe we should take advantage of art’s power as a messenger and influencer.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the exhibition’s theme?
VS – The artwork I presented in the exhibition is a sculpture of my “Endangerment” series named “Fox / Hunting and Trapping”, it symbolises the frailty of this animal species and stands for the particular threats it encounters. As per the exhibition’s description: “Thanks to the hidden connections of ANIMA MUNDI, all the ecosystems of the Earth, before and after the appearance of mankind, found their equilibrium, their ways to live and to develop themselves, to transform and to evolve”, the theme of the sculpture series resonates with the issues encountered by animals and our environment at the hand of humankind. I chose the fox as it is a prime example of our misunderstanding or disregard of Earth’s ecosystem. Foxes are considered to be pests in numerous European countries, as their mere existence often gets in the way of public and private financial interests, as well as a few outdatedtraditions, however by essence it is a regulator of the ecosystem and more than that its presence is important to the health and safety of humans. This species is a true embodiment of this equilibrium.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
VS – I think ITSLIQUID Platform offers a lot of opportunities to artists in a variety of different ways, which are clever, positive and advantageous. It also showcases many kinds of interesting forms of art, which can only contribute to widening the horizons of its clientele. In conclusion, in my opinion it is definitely an actor of the art market, which will keep rising in importance and one would wish for it to endure a very long time. Definitely a fan!
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
VS – The organisation of the event was very professional, from the mail exchanges, to the logistical aspects, to the friendliness of the team members, to the opening in itself. Not to mention the location which was fabulous. I can only recommend it to artists and visitors alike.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
VS – Absolutely! So far, I did not garner any bad impression.