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Poe, Hawthorne, Washington Irving and Sartre are among the authors that French conceptual artist Emilie Moutsis Von has been working on, using the process of blacking-out parts of the text and combining ink drawings, she recontextualises their books. They become a vessel into the artist’s soul.

The upcoming exhibition ‘Anti No me’, her first in Saigon, will feature double-pages from books, arranged in mini-series, which are accompanied by drawings. It is a way of treating the artist’s hidden, deep personal feelings, experiences and past memories; “blacking-out words from books is for me like an entry door into my intimate child” she explained during our interview. It is a very personal work where the artist is at the centre of it, the artist’s intimate persona is kind of extracted from the combinations of the drawing with the words which evoke several meanings.

She moved from drawings to experimenting with books three years ago. For many years she worked in close contact with graffiti artists, and it is probably this experience that has led her to choose books as her main material, “there is something about the forbidden side of writing on books. Since we were children, everyone has told us that it is a sacrilege to write on them.”

ANTI NO ME from {HAPAX} on Vimeo.

The selection of the books follows both an aesthetic and a content approach, “sometimes I choose a book because I love it but other times I haven’t even read it. I might choose it because I like the colour of the pages or the way it looks. I tend to start from the text by blacking-out the words then I usually wait 2 or 3 days and back to it. When I am in a particular dynamic or emotional status, I just open the book and follow the flow. I see it like a rewind, automatic writing but in the opposite way.”

The aesthetic and the visual impact count but the most relevant aspect of the finished work is the message “which goes directly from my heart to my hand”.

Her process includes digging into the subconscious but moreover putting herself through emotionally challenging situations, “when I draw I am always exhausted, not because of the physical movements I do, rather because of the emotion strains that are triggered”. ‘Anti no me’ also represents an introduction to the artistic collective, Hapax, that she has formed with multi-disciplinary artist Donnie Nasko. Together they are working on the exploration of intimacy which is transformed into artistic expression with the use of video installations, sound, photography and they have just finished a book. “The best way to describe it is if you think of a box with many little boxes inside. It talks about me, my demons but it also gains wider significance by touching intimate strings that can resonate in other people’s experiences. We don’t have limits [in our collaboration], inspecting and digging deep down our own intimacy can already be difficult for us and even more so for the people that view the finished results. We try to represent in an artistic way how we are. We think this is what being an artist fundamentally is.”

For Moutsis is also very important the understanding of one’s origin and where we are coming from, this is also why the exhibition will open in Saigon, the city where her mother and grandmother were born.

We all experience the world in different ways, however Emilie Moutsis Von artistic research allows to create a web of emotions that links people and the artist’s work.

 

Thursday, 7 November

7:00pm

deciBel | 79 Phan Kế Bính, Đa Kao, Quận 1

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