WHAT DOES YOUR SCREEN SMELL LIKE?
INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST SASHA BOWLES
In opposition to Sasha’s preference of all things in the flesh, we interviewed her by e-mail
A painting carries the suffix ing, denoting a verbal action that might propose a process of interpretation and understanding in the mind of the viewer. How then might this be compromised when documented on a computer screen? Does painting simply become paint?
I think it is worse than that. The paint doesn’t become anything. It loses all quality of being paint. You are just looking at an image. There is no scale, no medium and no presence of the artist. A barrier is formed between the viewer and the work.
What the computer and our digital age seems to produce is a constant changeability. Thousands of images can be stored, carried around and viewed on an ipad for example, but how can this be rivalled by the permanence of a single painting?
A single painting seen in the ‘flesh’, is much more powerful. It is real, you can feel the artist, you can see the marks they have made. A painting is not a flat back lit image; it is tactile and an object, it has its own entity. The idea that images can be seen anywhere at any time undermines the importance of a painting and dilutes its significance.
To exhibit in a garage space is a gesture that might suggest a desire to confront a sort of tangible, almost nonfictional reality. Might the art objects become absorbed into this realm as well?
I think where you exhibit does change how the work is interpreted. To exhibit in a garage without any of the usual white walls or pretences of a gallery space is very exciting and means that the work has to stand up for itself. You may find that the environment overwhelms or undermines the work, but it will also ground it of any pretensions.
What is the point in moving when one can travel so magnificently sitting in a chair? What would you like to say to all the sofa surfers out there?
Sofa surfers should find the time to get off their fat arses- come and smell the art.
I wonder if the painter’s desire for a live audience matches the sculptor’s. The screen presents a sculpture as a bite sized package, too small for a bodily exchange. The painting although condensed regardless of its size, is reproduced at the expense only of its object, not its image. Is painting’s exclusivity towards the surface an advantage in the mechanical age of reproduction?
Painting may have an advantage over sculpture in reproduction terms as usually only one view point is needed. However your term ‘bodily exchange’, is very poignant as I believe to be in the presence of the painting, to stand where the artist has stood is very important, if not essential. The images on a computer screen all begin to look the same, one after another flashing before our eyes, tweaked and edited for our ease.
It is almost better to have seen a reproduction printed in black and white than on a screen, because your expectation of the real painting is more obviously removed from the original.
What does your screen smell like?
I would have to say paracetamol as I feel a mild headache coming on.