Their work is an exploration beyond taboos and functions as an act of liberation from the preconceived and stigmatized notions of society about the human body and gender. Their often visually overloaded, childish aesthetics inspired by pop- and subculture are a counterpart to the dark, psychological topics they work with.
What opportunities does the internet offer?
I think the internet and the digital realm, in general, have always excited me a lot and have proven to have a great impact on dismantling hierarchies of life and expanding the now towards something bigger and unknown. I almost feel that the progression of technology and the immersive quality of the digital realm have brought a new conversation to the table which allows mankind to carefully dissect the meaning of life and what it means to be human. With the hope of finding more to each other and defining a universal experience in which the specific rules and where the willingness to progress is the key drive.
I almost feel that the progression of technology and the immersive quality of the digital realm have brought a new conversation to the table which allows mankind to carefully dissect the meaning of life and what it means to be human.
What does your work mean to you?
I think personally my work is a way of coping. Of dealing with inner conflicts and my position in society. It is a deep reflection of oneself in order to understand ones own identity and life. It is a drive to dissect and play with the world and through that make something valuable and exciting for myself and hopefully also for others.
Who are the subjects of your art?
So far I have been mainly working with myself as a starting point from which I expand to other people to collaborate, depending on the specific angle of my project. I stay very close to myself as a maker and investigate the construction of identities and how every one of us fights for our place in this world. I believe in the strength of being vulnerable and exposing internal struggles. The fight often featured in my work is a search for love and the battle of wanting to become and wanting to belong. Because becoming oneself, does not always equal a feeling of belonging.
Do you have a favorite medium?
I’m taking a media-autonomous approach with a focus on the image. Both the photographic image as well as phantasy consist of recordings of reality and are altered and newly generated versions of it, which make video and photomontage significant communicators of my worlds. By expanding these worlds into the exhibition space, I immerse the viewer; inviting them into a space in which everyone can be who they want to be without being questioned or having to justify themselves. A space that allows being honest, vulnerable and reflective.
Lena Kuzmich Lena Kuzmich
How do you work? What influences your work?
Taking the image as a starting point I mainly begin with visual research online, collecting archives of images that cross my path. From that, I construct characters, worlds, narratives, identities based on my research but also my own imagination. I often combine images found online such as stock footage with self-produced images. In a way, every step of my process is a careful dissection of elements that get assembled to create the worlds of my work.
I create a remix and a visual mashup with both fragments from pop- and subcultures which allows me to combine the normative with the unique to find the special in the universal and to expand ideas of our society.
Does art have taboos?
I do think art has taboos— as it acts as a reflection of culture, but art definitely also expands beyond the hegemony of our society and culture. Consequently, it also breaks taboos and envisions life beyond the norm, but it is still in itself a reflection of our structures; reflecting our values, ethics, ideologies, etc. Therefore it will always have this variety in it and contradict itself such as mankind does.
Currently, I’m focusing on my graduation project which will be presented in the Netherlands this summer. I am investigating how queer identities often struggle with finding a place in their often normative family backgrounds and how that struggle translates to both the construction of identity as well as collective visual imagery. So again I focus on this intersection- the grey area – of where the normative meets the specific as a breeding ground for the construction of identities. With this project, I’m very inspired by my own experience of wanting to become myself, but at the same time fearing the alienation from people through that. So it will be a story about love, fear, anger and most importantly about how to connect with people seemingly opposed to you while staying true to yourself.