Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mirre van Dalen - the interview

I had the pleasure of watching and experiencing the work of this artist at the Multiple Personalities Exhibition at Rozelle Hospital (see previous post). Mostly, I stayed quiet and let the performance speak to me
- to my surprise, it stirred an emotional core emanating from ...where I don't know - a very unusual thing for one so often out and about in the art community and a little steeled against performance and installation art, having been bored stupid on one too many an occasion.

So I spoke with Mirre (Title link), but not much, as I did not want to disturb the ritualistic performance which she was obviously engrossed in. It seemed a bit sacreligious, somehow. So mostly I read her artist's statement, and questioned the bits I was unsure about (her preferred method of communication is, obviously, visual and performance art).
Her background in Art Therapy extends Mirre's art practice (which provides a source of healing to both her and the viewer) to the patient. When asked what needed healing, her answer was simply, "childhood stuff".
As Mirre sees it, both the artist and the wounded bring order to chaos. Therapy and art practice allow "unspoken feelings to arise", they involve a struggle to resolve, and energy to work through until completion and a realised "wholeness". She finds freedom and growth in the balance of having an objective, in doing something towards it and relinquishing control of the material.
For this artist, the materials chosen and "Chance" itself play an incredibly important part in her creative process - a playful and child-like, instinctive collection of objects, often pre- loved (and thus containing a history of their own), is experimented with and explored to learn its qualities and the part it may have in telling her "story".
"I recognise beauty in things other people have given up on (and) give them a second chance".
There is no deep planning involved, but rather, a conversation occurs between herself and the materials, allowing the object to take on its own life and form the art.
"I am amazed at how I seemingly stumble across materials and ideas to use, that hold significance for the things in my heart....Often it isn't until much later in the creation of the piece that I realise how strongly they are helping me to voice my story....the end product is unplanned and surprising as a result".
Mirre sees that this process also welcomes spirituality into her art, abundantly evident in the "black flowers" performance at Callan Park.

It was striking to me, yet again, to realise how artists with completely different methods of creative expression seem to talk the same talk - of dialogue with materials, of letting an idea blossom over time, of realising only later why they chose THAT object, or THAT subject device, THAT storyline, THAT symbol etc. Allowing chance to occur, tapping into the subconscious etc also seems to be universally important.
And how, regardless of religious background or atheistic stance, we find an "otherness" or spirituality in the best of the work we do.
So...Take the time, Take the chances, (Note to self) Take the hint, to let things bubble and well over time so that the doing of the art is the end product, and becomes an act of joy rather than a burden, adding to the tapestry which is our lives, the surprise result.

Images; Mirre van Dalen in performance at exhibition, "Multiple Personalities", Rozelle Hospital 6th December, 2009. Photo by Gabrielle Jones.

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