I was asked by Matt Taggart to contribute to the World Wide Blog Hop. I in turn have to ask three other artists. I just realized that and have now just asked my three artists and i’m waiting for their answers. I have asked Thierry Tillier & Benoît Piret (Belgium) and Kurt Nahar (Suriname). three very active artists/collagists . lets hope they say yes:)
so here is my interview.
What am I working on?
I’m working on a duo show for Fondo Verri (Lecce) Italy with Francesco Aprile so i contributed 20 solo pieces . And i’m working on some pieces for Mail-artprojects (Ukraine,Italy and US) and invitations for Poesia Visiva (vispo) projects . I did some books for RedFoxPress (last one:http://www.redfoxpress.com/AB-fierens.html) and i will make a new one in the near future so i started already a series of works. I like to work in series because then i can combine serial images from different sources and combine them to layers. That is basically my work , not making one page collage but trying to connect layers of memory by using sometimes text, words,signs and images . Most photoshopped images from 90’s till now are slick and falsified so they need to be combined/juxtaposed to find a “new” truth. I also am working on collab pieces with poets : Helen White and Lies Van Gasse (http://helenliesluc.blogspot.be).
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
great question: two answers:
1) i’m not part of the last wave of collagists who use social networks to promote collage(revival?) but started in the 80’s before internet, this “genre” which i call more a movement of resistance has always existed from the Dada & Surrealism experiments and later during the 60’s (fluxus, lettrism, situationism) through the 80’s (networked collagists /mail-artists like me ) till now
2) my work is not “pure” collage , my connection of the “genre” collage is made by my research since the 80’s when i started writing experimental poems because i was studying the Vijftigers, Beat Poets and Van Ostayen . So i wrote experimental poems in a scrapbook and also put images next to them. Images from newspapers : murder of MLK , Bobby Sands etc. A few years later i started my experimental literary magazine and discovered the Mail-artnetwork (the avant internet pioneer of social networks) . At the same time through an exchange with Italian vispopioneer magazine Lotta Poetica (Sarenco, Paul De Vree & Eugenio Miccini) i discovered that my work was close to Poesia Visiva (italian version of Vispo known to be more political because of the research of semiotics and semantics of U.Eco, E.Villa, R.Apicella etc.) and i continued to use text/image in my collages/visual poems. For me it is difficult to make the distinction. As networker i don’t like to be boxed in -isms because i also played with Fluxus (from 1987 till 2013 i made the artist’publication Postfluxpostbooklet - collabs with visual poets/mail-artists & fluxists) through my mail-artactivities but when the internet took over from the snail-mail i focused more & more on my re-Poesia Visiva. My visual poems or call them collages when you see no text i guess. These are the elements how my work differ from others. Also i don’t cut my images with scissors but i tear images from newspapers, books and paper /cardboard etc from all sources. I don’t use photoshop but still make my collages pure analog so no computer treatment only to scan them & distribute
Why do I write/create what I do?
i still write, i started writing poetry but i was no good poet and i like to write with images and texts which detourn this reality into a new (to be read/seen) reality i guess. I appropriate images to detour them . I must say i look for thruth. But all reality is false or now photoshopped, what’s left is the beauty of women: “Non ci rest che la donna” (grazie Elish). For me women are the only real beauty which i look for…….., enjoying the search for real, in german : my Ubergefuhl .. In this world of atrocities and cruelties the false reigns and indifference reigns even in slick images in fashionista magazines so it’s up to artists to counter this reality and make it more real instead of a virtual lie. That is why i write/create. May sound political or social but i don’t make collage for decoration .. Why paint nice roses when kids are dieing in Gaza?
How does your writing/creating process work?
first ,i don’t create every night or day. i usually create in waves and series because i work 4/5 so i have a long week-end .During the week i can gather/select images and then in the week-end i complete the process. I create also when the mood strikes, sometimes some hours during the night to finish a piece because the combination of ”pieces” works . i also think about collaging everyday. I think in connections , maybe because as an artist i started as part of a network , not as part of the pyramid of students/teachers/academy/museum/curators. Fluxist, Mail-art, Poesia Visiva and other underground avant-garde networks are still decentralized, someone can start a project and be organizer, curator, printer & publisher and you can work with a museum, library and alternative space if you want and if they respect the openness instead of recuperating or copying your “concepts”. Conceptual art in many ways copied the original ideas of Concrete and Visual poets but these poets were more aware of their social function as commentator/collaborator/artist then as artist/career. Luckily independent curators like Jon Held jr. have continued to work /show integrate the work of artists’ networks in some collections . In september this year some of his collection (http://research.moma.org/mailart/) (incl. my work) & i donated my Postfluxpostpublications) to MOMALibrary some years ago when Clive Phillpot was librarian.
In Italy a whole family of courageous collectors has always supported the avant-gardes . This resulted in (incl. my visual poems) ”Visual Poetry” (italian & world wide) reference catalogue by SKIRA after a retrospective in Venezia/Pavia february 2014