AUGUSTA ATLA (DK)

Artist Statement 2018

I believe that I as an artist can make images of ‘vitality’ and the artwork can function like an instrument to refresh or revitalise our mind (and soul) - similar to the idea of William Blake: "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite".
Since my childhood I seek to build images of emotional resonance that may infuse momentary loss of identity - and the catharsis of freedom that comes with it. My images are in a (pictorial) land somewhere between describing the delight of perception and abstraction as nihilism.

For me a line in a certain length, colour tone, form and texture is a vibration of meaning of so many layers of brain perception, symbol and emotional gestalt. Art for me is not an illustration, idea or a representation it is rather like a functioning language of its own: my silent Morse code of emotions, perceptions and language. It is like every painting is a symbol/atom in a bigger alphabet. Painting for me is a kind of silent writing with the whole scale of the body - almost like a kind of painterly eurythmy.

From 2007 - 2016, I embarked on a painting and visual field research across Europe, living in Venice, Rome, Milan, Paris and Athens, visiting the artworks of the European Masters, researching religious and deific iconography, and exploring the history and meaning of traditional women costuming that all still influence and make up my work today.

Especially the Ancient and contemporary Athens and Greece has had a huge and life changing influence to both my work and persona. I lived partly or full time in Athens for 6 years (2011-2016) and I stayed so long because I realised immediately when arriving in 2011 that aspects of my own art understanding were similar to that of the Ancient Greeks. Furthermore the strong light in Greece did help me to develop artworks with colour used and painted as if it was light itself or the idea of illuminattion.

Now that I live in Copenhagen, I continue to go some months per year to Greece to focus on my pictorial research on colour and ancient greek art.

My daily practice and main focus is painting. Painting fits my temperament, agreeing to its manual construct that exposes everything, including the emotions (or lack of them) of its maker. Painting's architecture and dna for me functions like a visual example of what is defined by Chaos Theory: the quality of the whole is determined by even the smallest gesture, which may seem tiny or irrelevant.

I build up my paintings from sources of either random found photography, photography I take myself, images of art historical works, and sketches made of an object or person, or directly from imagination.

My work always discusses the figure and scale of the body - and I start with watercolour or gouache, developing an emotional presence in the arrangement of the figure, afterwards upscaling the works to canvas or paper. I try to never lose the the simple line, the strength of almost nothing, the lightness of nihilism in a few, clear strokes of the brush.

Within my pictorial arrangement of paintings I use the photographic method of negative/positive. The positive/negative is normally a photographic way of thinking, but used in painting it serves exactly as a metaphor of turning an emotion upside down. Furthermore the negative method also serves as a way to go away from the white canvas/background. Some series of works exist of many paintings in the same motif repeatedly painted in different colour combinations and exhibited together, discussing ideas of light and approximation of reality (or dream). Also I use scaling (size wise) as a method. Scaling a tiny work to a huge piece and vice versa is pictorially a method based on the endless and indifferent grid and a free moving entities.

My approach to use both intense or delicate color is representative of both the rough, hard aspects of our emotional lives alongside the moments that are sweet and full of love, aiming to portray the vitality of human emotion in balance and to include our lightness being.

The formal use of collaging and re-sampling of images of art history is based on my idea of collective memory and employed with a hope for a sense of freedom, to decide partly for ourselves who we are. As a female artist, by re-using some of the cliches of art history, I work to reframe the meaning of the original image into a new approach that seeks the liberty to do whatever she wants with history, for the sake of a more healthy, ethical and holistic approach to the Self.