Interview with Elián Stolarsky

December 25, 2016

Why do you do what you do?
Because of love. Because I need to. And also because life took me towards it, and I didn’t wantto say no! The artistic practice shapes the way we observe what surround us (as any profession does). I guess I made the choice to stand in this angle, from this point of view. I firmly believe that we are symbolical animals, in the sense that we understand and communicate through symbols. And there are sometimes no words to explain certain things. That is why poetry and any other shapesof art can bring different levels to our own understanding. So doing an art practice allows me to comprehend more about my human nature when interacting with others.

What’s your background?
I’m a latin Uruguayan Jewish woman with Polish and Turkish origins. I have the fortune to travel the world to keep on learning. I studied animation and fine arts in Uruguay and recently finished my Masters Degree in Belgium. My art education in Uruguay was not only from formal studies. I took many workshops with different teachers that taught me techniques for art creation and also how to approach life. I worked in theater, I am a salsa dancer, I love to write and the smell of the intaglio ink makes me happy! I am the result of a big mix of people and passions. 

What’s integral to your work as an artist?
To be as sincere as I can. Mostly with myself. Through our unique personality we can understand the global. Also, to be always working and learning no matter what. Because that helps me to move, to revise, to find new coincidences.

What does “being creative” mean to you?
To me, it means to be able to connect two things, concepts or ideas that seemed before not to be related. To be able to solve problems no matter which is the context and with the resources we have. To create our own tools to be able to achieve our goals.

What role do you think artists have in society?
I think we are like thermometers of society. We materialize what it is happening around us. We need to be sensitive enough to be able to understand and digest, in order to reflect after. But I do not think art can save the world, nor does it have to. Art allows us to observe what happens around us as humans living with others. From that symbolical result, we can observe and change the reality if we want to. It helps to create consciousness but what we do with that depends only on our ethical values and is not about the art works. I can see art also as a mirror. It doesn’t change reality but it allows us to define ourselves and from that point to make the decision of changing.

What's your favorite place to see art?
I have a big passion for art books. Gives you the idea that all the art in the world could be stored (quite an obsessive comment, I guess). With books, all the works could fit in your hands and could be revisited any time of the day. But despite this option with all its benefits I do believe there is nothing like appreciating the works face to face (then of course, books become great aide memoires). I really enjoy to seeing art in small empty museums, that most of the time were not conceived as exhibition spaces at first. It gives the work another veil of magic. Two examples: recently I saw an exhibition that was in an house in the countryside in Uruguay. It was an old small hangar that became the artist´s studio. The video works were all projected on the façade of the building mixed with the sound of birds and nature during the night. The other example is Dr. Guislan Museum in Gent, Belgium that shows art naïve and art brut in an old mental hospital. Both have something not on purposely staged that attracts me.

What's the most indispensable item in your studio?
A table, a computer and natural light. Materials change, countries change, neighborhoods change, but those three items are always there and set the basics for my working temple.

 

 

 

Photo of Elián by Michael Drob. 

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