A conversation with Italian artist Beatrice Pediconi
DAEDALUS: In which way did you compromise the final image with your Polaroid’s?
Beatrice Pediconi: The images of my works are painting on the water that needs to be recorded to become part of our visual memory. Polaroid is the only instant medium who gives birth to still images in the exact moment as the painting exist before dissolving. I fix the painting with Polaroid when I feel is timing for the painting to be done and this I guess is a very instinct act that can never be predicted.
D: The medium of the Polaroid is a very expressive way to create new worlds, how do you leave nature to do its thing?
B.P.: Polaroids have their own chemistry for sure but I feel I am more in contact with nature when I am painting on water. I start with fluids and their fleeting effects on water: I literally paint on water. The materials I choose to paint with have shifted over the years, from organic substances such as eggs and milk to acrylic, ink, powder, and oil paint. I first drop the liquids in a bathtub filled with water, and then I paint with brushes on the surface of the water. Like any painter, I use brushes and syringes of many different sizes and thickness. My artistic action recreates a physical environment in the microcosm of the tub with unpredictable events, just as they unfold in nature. For example, depending on the room’s temperature the reaction of the water to my painting can change. Let’s say that between me and nature there is a collaboration and water is my assistant.
D: Photography ends the action yet the video is still there to give an account of what is happening. Would you consider detaching an image still as an aesthetic operation?
B.P.: By exploring certain universal themes such as displacement, movement, and vulnerability, the aim of my work is to awaken an emotive state to facilitate dialogue. Using a water tub medium as a point of departure, I paint on water and augment with video or photography. Capturing the privacy and intimacy of being waterborne, the water’s “canvas” acts as a metaphor for life’s fragile and fleeting nature. Providing a momentary space of fantasy, and a window into the moment when the work was created. I never excerpt a still image from a video. Like a performance piece, the process creates a one of a kind experience that captures the moments between creation and destruction. Both techniques capture and document those moments just with different timing.
D: When using a camera, is there a space in which you invite the viewer to enter? What will their sensations be in there?
B.P.: With my video installations I try to create an environment, a space that becomes a vessel which the visitor is invited to enter. It is a kind of cocoon in which strands of images in movement unravel themselves on one or more walls, moving off towards “the uncontainable,” and leading the viewer into other possible territories. One finds oneself afloat in a firmament of pigments and empty spaces that combine through sudden accelerations and de-accelerations into always different formal configurations, with images always “falling and rising” in a sidereal silence in which form becomes the vehicle of the music inherent in the universe.
D: Would you consider these an optical unconsciousness?
BP: Well, yes could be the case if you consider my works as photographs but if you see them as dissolved paintings the attention shift. I also believe that the viewer enters into contact with the images in a very personal way projecting inside their own experience, knowledge, and state of mind. It happened that the same person looked at the same work of mine in different occasion and experienced the work in a totally different way. I wish there could be a priority of sense then intellect when approaching my works.
D: Your photographs feature some amorphous forms that are suspended in color, how do you make these look so deep and flat at the same time?
B.P: Thank you, I like the idea that the forms are suspended in color. It is true, I am not so sure yet what is my relation with colors, they all float in my mind and sometimes one or maximum two starts navigate across my water tray. With transparency film, the reproduction of color is 100% perfect.
D: In which manner does you work aspire to couple scientific observation with the behavior of materials and its reproduction with creative freedom?
B.P: I believe that ideas come first and then observation, research, a behavior of materials with technique and experimentation serve as support to practice.
D: What is important for you in the fragility and transformation of vision?
B.P: I am fascinated by the transience and vulnerability of our existence. For me, painting on water represents giving birth to a creation that evokes emotional responses. Capturing an image with a photo or video camera means trying to render it immortal; at the same time, the process of working with materials that won’t remain stable, that live just for a short period of time and that cannot be recreated or restored, emphasizes all of life’s vulnerability. The repeated action of making and demolishing, and to recreate again in a new form and with different materials, is an integral part of my work. I want it to be reminiscent of an action painting performance that exploits nostalgia and creates an experience that can never be repeated.
D: Within your shows Polaroid’s are usually given undisturbed space to breathe, in which way would you say your work connects to the tradition of the Italian Renaissance with its occult sciences of magic, alchemy, and astrology.
B.P: Really ? do you really think my work connects to the tradition of the Italian Renaissance with its occult sciences of magic, alchemy, and astrology? Wow, That’s a beautiful parallel I never thought about it. Thank you, it’s very interesting, I will think about it and I hope to hear more about that from you soon in the future.