THE PLANTATION COLLECTIVE 33

miriam Nielsen

questions BY JOANNA CRESSWELL

SCULPTURAL PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Tell us about your process. What reference or influence (if any) do you take from other mediums? My background is in landscape photography and to some extend street photography, so there are many references to these genres in my works. As the starting point of my work process I photograph in locations, and at the moment I am equally attracted to classic landscapes and materials found on building sites. I manipulate and combine these photographs with other elements such as photographs of objects and still life. And I may add layers of lacquer or silkscreen print. The process is playful and investigative and continue until the piece comes together. There are no exact rules in this process, I try to stay as open as possible especially in the beginning of the process. In developing these works, I would say that I am influenced by all mediums but especially montage, drawing and painting.

Are these pictures concerned with exploring formal and aesthetic interests, or are they representational, metaphorical? What is the weight that holds these pictures together? My work is certainly exploring formal and aesthetical interests because I explore how things may be combined in order to become something new. In the process I manipulate, cut, paste and experiment. At some point in the process I arrive at a place where the elements fall into place and the process stops. What holds the works together is a certain manifestation or sensation that something has unfolded.

Are you a photographer or an artist using photography? I started out as a photographer, but increasingly I see myself as an artist using photography as a tool.

Does your work reflect on the medium of photography or the photographic image? I feel the need to take the media somewhere new, which is probably the result of working with photography for such a long time. Also I deliberately focus on non-representation. I see the images as raw-material from which something new can be constructed.

Typically, are your works more about construction or deconstruction? First I deconstruct images and from these I construct new works. So both processes are equally important. Sometimes I will use a found sculptural form but most often I manipulate this form afterwords.

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 Are you interested in the notion of your pictures as objects? Do you think about how their physicality may endure as you are photographing them or is that an afterthought? Yes, I think about how I will use the pictures in prints and montages when I photograph, and I am concerned with capturing a certain physicality. And later the concern is with creating an actual physical piece. The texture and materiality of different methods of printing also fascinate me a lot at the moment.

Often sculptural photographic works are concerned with elevating banal objects, situations or events to a status of ‘art’ – when does something become art for you? I believe that visual art has the ability to deal with aspects of our inner - and external world that can’t be expressed in words. Art has the ability to create new spaces and I believe that something becomes art when the density of a particular work has the ability to leave a mark in the consciousness of the viewer and expand or resonate with their world. So the origin may be “banal” but if it’s processed and presented to us in a certain way it may become art. Still, I also believe that the way a particular piece is perceived and valued may change with time and context.