Editor´s Note: Artist of The Week Interviews is a series of artist interviews curated by Art Throng-a global contemporary art curatorial think-tank whose mission is to make art in all its expressions available across cross-cultural platforms. In these weekly interviews, we cover noteworthy artists from across the world, in different mediums of artistic expression from illustrations to design, sound to performance, photography to portraits, sculptures to motion. Here is our third artist of this weekly series- Patricia Glauser.
Born in Colombia in 1967. In 1998, Patricia quit her job as a dentist and left her country to follow her dream of becoming an artist. In this interview by Art-Throng, we ask the artist about her inspirations and influences of her works. She is one of the few global artists who have introduced the theme of Gender Violence in their works with such grace and intricacy to bring light to the issue and the suffering of millions of women who still go through the same. Patricia Clauser´s interview and her inspiration behind art-activism to end violence against women mark this special day of Fuerteventura Time´s initiative to spread awareness on this June 19th- International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.
1. Can you tell us about your works and mediums used as an artist?
My work begins with the need to externalize through an image the feeling of living “between”, as a neutral space in the middle of two opposites: between inside and outside, matter and energy, presence and absence, figure and figure. A sensation that becomes a sublime and unattainable tension towards a utopian, hermaphroditic, simultaneous, and spectral space-time, which in turn becomes the intermediate fair, which allows equilibrium.
Since I started painting, I have been interested in studying the essential elements of the canvas, the color and the wood. I consider, for example, that the fabric not only serves as a support on which the color is applied or a drawing is made, it can also play the main role in the composition of the painting.
In my first paintings, I worked the fabric cutting it, fraying it, sewing it, etc., maintaining the bi-dimensionality but at the same time looking for depth, what is behind, between inside and outside. Little by little the works acquired tri-dimensionality and the fabric began to play the main role in constructing the form and becoming Figure. The color to stop fulfilling its function became a symbol of peace, purity, and transformation.
It is an art of social denunciation where I seek, through an aesthetic vision, to give an ethical concept. I seek to “sculpt the sensation”, as Francis Bacon would say with his painting. Create an impact, a sensation in the observer that invites him to reflect.Again and without thinking, my sense of an interval sense between ethics and aesthetics, good and evil, torment and peace.
From the technical point of view, in addition to the fabric, I work with plaster, acrylic resins, polyurethane and fiberglass. I also use some useful objects to visually communicate the main theme of my work.
The color remains white, absolute, essential and synthetic. A target through which pain is sublimated, spiritually overcome in an interval between matter and spirit.
2. You work with paintings, installations, and performances as the main medium in their works. Can you take us through the artistic process?
My artistic work begins as a painter with a particular interest in canvas as the main compositional element. In the beginning, I cut, ripped, and sewed the fabric looking for a certain spatiality and that interval between what is inside and what is outside. With this idea of representing that point that I call the interval (“in-between”) as a midpoint between opposites, between presence and absence, matter and energy, interior and exterior, the canvas acquired three-dimensionality. At the same time, the concept of interval existed in me and continues to be very present in my work, the theme of social denunciation against the mistreatment of women. The fabric was no longer the support on which to apply colors or make a drawing to build the shapes and become a figure. The figure of a woman dressed in white who appears at that intermediate point between trauma and post-trauma, with a dress that covers and at the same time discovers, body and non-body and thus, between new concepts and techniques, I came to sculpture and installation. I have been developing a personal technique in which I work not only with the fabric but with other materials such as the resins applied on the fabric-dress. Clothing as such, little by little becomes that tangible object through which I manage to represent the interval between interior and exterior, a dress that covers and discovers that woman who is caught between what she was and what she is after the aggression.
The performance is born only as an accompaniment to the sculptures that together with my presence make the work become a living installation. More than performing, I present myself in silence and still like another sculpture, dressed in black opposite the white of my works. Life and death exchange color.
Art is an intimate, emotional, sensory and intellectual journey,Patricia Glauser
where ideas and sensations are transformed into visual expression
3. Where does your inspiration come from?
I believe that art is the receptacle and the expression of the journey of your life where thoughts, sensations, and internal images are transformed into a visual expression turning the invisible into visible. And in the case of my works, turning it into a tangible image as well. One can find inspiration in daily living, in the experiences and the emotional and mental reactions that they produce in you.
4. You are originally from Colombia, how was growing up for you? Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
I was born in Colombia and have lived in Italy for 20 years. I would say that it was not easy to grow … but I did it. I grew up in an economically privileged environment if I compare it with many Colombians, but an environment with many pressures and social requirements with which I could never comply, although I wanted to since I was the classic social misfit. Despite the fact that I wanted to study art, due to various difficulties, I ended up studying dentistry which, as they told me: “It is a profession that has crafts …”. I worked as such for 8 years, until in 1998 I had the courage, managed to free myself and travel to Italy behind my dream of being an artist. When I was little I did not know that I wanted to be an artist but I loved to paint, back then my parents thought it was good for me to paint and I remember with great joy when I enrolled in a painting course outside of school. Growing up, I took some painting courses and had a group of friends with whom I met to paint once or twice a week after work, painting was a hobby at the time. I really realized that deep down I had the soul of an artist when I understood that I could not continue my life as a dentist and that there was no sense in continuing to be what I was not and with which I did not identify.
5. Were you influenced by some elements of your country of origin?
I think that an artist reflects in his work many elements with which s/he comes into contact in her life, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. Having lived in Colombia and currently, in Italy, there´s a moment one reaches where it seems that you are neither from here nor from there. Having lived two similar and different cultures at the same time, there are many cultural aspects of which you only realize when it is sold in a certain environment that has its specific social and cultural parameters or context.
One aspect that has influenced my work is the machismo o male chauvinism of the Colombian society. In Italy, of course, there is machismo and social discrimination against women, but it is less ingrained than in Colombia, where women themselves, because of their social and cultural history are more accepting of certain roles in society that are self-imposed. This is very evident in the less favored social classes. I have many sad and raw memories when I rendered compulsory social service as a dentist in my country. The number of women who were abused emotionally & physically, made submissive and enslaved by their husbands, partner, a relative, or even their fathers is disheartening.
The other aspect that has highly influenced my works has been the perspective on the situation of women in a country burdened by violence. Many raped by guerillas and paramilitary as they pass through fields and are treated like animals in the wild.
6. Your art installation and performance ‘Violence without Violence’ was presented in Rome in 2018. Could you share a little bit about that?
I presented this performance for the first time in Milan and then repeated it in Rome that same year. It was a great experience because I felt that I was an integral part of my works. I was one of them and together we narrated a story based on the concept of time, where to the left of the “stage” the past was represented, to the center the present, and to the right the future. I was located, sitting on the floor, dressed in black, precisely in that “interval” between past and present.
The male figure on the left, “Miguelito”, a small puppet framed by the frame of the painting, hanging from the shoulder of an amputated arm as a result of struggling in the act of violence and with her foot stained with blood red. Framed or rather cornered and imprisoned in his own cell, isolated by himself in his silence. My presence dressed in black represents the woman who cries her misfortune in silence, but at the same time reacts in that present in which, the dirty laundry is washed at home. That represented with the work “Tenderete”- a Spanish word for the rack where you dry clothes. You have to do the laundry and wash stained clothing. The future is represented by the dress, “Piedad Ausente” a Spanish metaphor literally meaning Absent Piety that seems to fly between past and future; where the movement of the fabric and the white color symbolizes transformation, inner purity, and the spiritual sublimation of pain as it heads and flies towards the top.