Hello Alice and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
History shows us that the spectrum of what can be defined as art is quite broad. In my opinion, not everything can be art and not everybody is an artist. Art is something with a strong intention, regardless of the medium. Many things can be declared as art, and some draw more attention than others. Art being made now has a lot of history to acknowledge before it can be claimed successful.
Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have formal training and you hold a BFA of Photography that you received from the Ryerson University: how has this experience that haveimpacted on the way you currently produce your Art? By the way, what's your point on formal training? I often ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...
Art school for the most part was a positive experience for me. There were things I learned in art school I wouldn’t have otherwise developed on my own. However, I don’t think it is a crucial step for artists. Ultimately, art school doesn’t make you a good artist, good artists just happen to go to art school sometimes. One thing that I always say is that there is no single, one way to make art. One artist’s workflow might be great for them, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for another. Art school sets a framework. For me, it began to set a workflow that wasn’t working for my practice by the end, and I’m happy I learned this. Now that I work on my own, I have a workflow that is unique to me.
Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
In regards to preparation, I do a lot of research and planning before I touch my camera. If I sense that something in the planning isn’t right, I know that there is no point in doing the shoot. Once I think of an idea for a work, I ask myself, what artists have done similar things? Do I have enough background on the subject I am using to portray the concept? Where does this stand in history and what can we learn from this project for the sake of the future? These questions bring meaning and personality to the project. The technical aspects change from work to work, and are unique to every artwork. The concept always supports the visuals, and vice versa. My ideas almost always start with a visual inspiration and get merged with a suitable concept.
Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with The Death of "Happily Ever After" that our readers have started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest them to visit your website directly at http://www.alicezilberberg.com/170924/1699608/galleries/the-death-of-happily-ever-after in order to get a more detailed idea of this stimulating project... in the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this work? What was your initial inspiration?
This project started with the creation with one of the works in the series, “Rapunzel”. This was mostly visual and experimental back in 2008. After digging in more into the history of fairy tales and their dark origins, it was natural to me that this became a body of work, in which I reflect my ideas about Disney’s Fairty Tales, removing outdated notions of weaker sex, while I act as the narrator and model in each of the works.
You often draw inspiration from folklore, fairy tales and especially from mythology, as in the stimulating The Vanishing of Gaia, but, as you have remarked, your work place a new gloss on traditional themes... do you think that there's still an inner dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?
I think there is no contemporariness without knowing tradition. We learn from history in almost every field, we learn from war, and learn how to avoid it in the future. It’s the same in art. “Vanishing of Gaia” takes ancient tradition, (The Goddess Gaia) and shows it in a contemporary light, commenting on then, now, and the future. In this way, tradition is always intertwined with contemporariness.
And I couldn't do without mentioningVenus Envy, that has particularly impressed and I have to admit it's one of my favourite project of yours... I can recognize such a subtle social criticism in it and in my opinion it also seek to challenge art in its conventions... I'm sort of convinced that Art these days could play an effective role not only making aware public opinion, but I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can steer people's behavior... what's your point about this?
Thank you. I think the subject of art as a tool to steer public behavior is really complicated and interesting. I would love more than nothing than to hear that my art makes people think, learn and change. I want to speak about important and relevant issues in my art, things that I’m excited about, and I think that if I’m excited about it other people will be too. The impact of art is really personal, just because I have a story behind it, doesn’t mean it’s finalized there. It could mean something different to the viewer. Once I put it out for the world to see, it is not longer just mine but the world’s art as well. It becomes everybody’s art.
As you have remarked in your artist's statement, "I choose to narrate the story as well as participate in it, placing myself as the dark haired heroin" I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... I mean, both for creating a piece of Art and in order to enjoy it....Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?
For me, art is personal, and how I express myself. The experience of it is in fact completely indispensable. As I’ve mentioned above, I create art about things that excite me, weather visual or conceptual. So personal experience is what drives the art. If I was let’s say, a watermelon, I have no experiences, opinions or thoughts, so I can’t make any art.
During these years, you have been awarded several times and you recently had the solo Who is Alice? at the Bezpala Brown Gallery... It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, encouraging him: I was just wondering if an award -or even the expectation of positive feedbacks- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...
This is a great question. Positive feedback is great, it helps talent grow, because then that talent receives special attention and helps cultivate it. However, if a body of work received exceptionally positive feedback, it’s always expected that the artist’s next body of work will be bigger, and better. This can put too much pressure on the artist in my opinion. This happens I think a lot, and not just in the visual arts. I always strive to create a great product, but there is a lot of experimentation, and failure, that I have to go through to get to that point. Once the project is done, you can put it on a wall and admire it, but the joy itself comes from the process and ultimately, the envisioning of the result to come. I also think that an art practice is never done, in the sense that, if I thought I had created my best work, where do I go from there? I think the artwork can always be improved, and there are infinite directions this can go in. Little wins are great, but an explosion of positive feedback can be devastating to future creation.
As my art practice grows and I develop more and more as an artist, it becomes clear to me that when putting art and business together, the two clash like oil in water. An artistic practice always has to come from a genuine place, and if I start picturing the potential client and put emphasis on who will like it and who will buy it, the genuineness of the work and the product may suffer greatly.
Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Alice. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
Yes! I am currently working on a new body of work set to release around the time of the issue launch. It is a pretty personal project that was influenced by a recent trip I took last summer.