Lidia Kostanek - céramique contemporaine

Emboss Mag / "The Body" interview

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Emboss Magazine
Issue No. 9 : The Body - Vol 1, novembre 2017
Lidia Kostanek interview

How did you get your start as a creative artist ?
I’ve wanted to become an artist ever since I was a little child. I can still remember the pattern on the living room carpet, where I would sit and look through my father’s art books. I remember the square pages of the books, containing all the old masters’ work : the naked body of St. Sebastian, pierced by arrows ; twisted and dismembered bodies in Hieronymus Bosch’s visions of hell, and so many more. It was like seeing dead birds or cats : both scary and irresistibly fascinating at the same time.

How would you describe your style ?
Surrealistic, sensual, delicate, and brutal ; all at once. Disturbing and transgressive.

How does the way you depict the body speak to broader themes within your work ?
I often cut the body into pieces : sometimes to extract one organ to emphasize its strength or weakness and other times to multiply elements and construct a new quality of form. Repetition is the pursuit of perfection, but it can be also a sort of the punishment : just like having to copy a sentence in a school notebook over and over.

In the age of gender outside of the body, do you find yourself pushing for new ways of figural representation ?
I think that the identity (including gender) is not something to be acquired but a constant process of becoming and evolving. I try to explore notions of an idealized femininity and masculinity to challenge binary gender notions.

What is the future of the figure ?
Maybe some kind of puzzle that can be arranged in different ways. Metamorphosis has unlimited potential.
Or, maybe the body without organs – an embryo, an egg, the essence.

How do you define beauty and is that something you try to convey with your work ?
We were put in front of a cultural, social, or religious mirror, which imposed images on us. This mirror is an object of criticism and domination rather than a tool of identification : the reflection emphasizes an inability to adjust to the standards of beauty imposed by society.

How does your work address politics of the gaze ?
The concept of femininity is imposed on women by society and its rules : it is through the filter of her appearance and through others’ gazes that she will be evaluated, assessed, or desired. Woman is mainly judged as a body or its parts. When the body is turned into an object, isn’t the person in danger of disappearing ?

Is there an aspect of hybridity or anthropomorphism to your gural works ?
I think that the progression toward Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence is a way to forget the fact that we are animals, that we are vulnerable. My ceramic sculpture Bitch (Chienne) represents a woman on all fours with heavy, animal breasts full of milk and fur covering her body. She resembles “The Capitoline Wolf”, but she has no eyes. There is an organic link between her eyes, like a electric cable or an intestine. She is a mother without children, she is a horny lover, she is vulnerable and powerful at the same time.

What inspires and motivates you as an artist ? Do other artists in uence your work ?
I am fascinated by the brutal aspects of nature, old masters’ works, medieval or renaissance art, and of course I admire women artists like Alina Szapocznikow, Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Annette Messager...

What has your practice taught you about yourself ?
To be more confident in myself and to fight my fears. It helps me transform rage into a strength.