Expat Artist: Inga Cholmogorova in Belgium and the Netherlands
Rietveld trained Lithuanian artist Inga Cholmogorova,who lives and works between Belgium and the Netherlands, compares the art scene in both countries, explains her work and offers a clip of her new short film 'Blow Job'.
Name: Inga Cholmogorova
City of residence: Amsterdam
Why did you move to the Netherlands?
I came to Amsterdam University (UvA) for an exchange program when I was studying for my MA degree in International Communications. One thing led to another and after graduating from Gr. Rietveld Academy in 2008 I am still Amsterdam based, however I work in situ everywhere. Currently I am working on few sites in Mechelen (Belgium).
Can you describe what you wish to communicate through your artwork?
What I try to do on each location is to make something, which is already there, present in a way that it becomes 'experienceable' for the public. I create site responsive environments for an encounter with the self. I see my work as a catalyst to bring attention to a present moment and to alter one’s perception.
Which medium do you work in?
I am a conceptual artist and therefore not bound to any medium, so each time I make the work I carefully choose the most suitable medium to communicate my idea in the given space and context. Usually I create a situation for a possible interaction – would it be an installation or performance. I also make glass sculptures, photography, etc. and am currently busy with making a short film.
Photo: "False Distinction" (red and blue thread)--Jan Tooropstraat atelier, Amsterdam, 2007
Video: Blow Job
How has living abroad influenced your work as an artist?
In the words of the poet Noel Arnaud ‘Je suis l’espace ou je suis (I am the space where I am). Space itself is a starting point for my work; however the larger context and specific characteristics of the country (climate, politics, architecture, religion, food, etc.) could also influence me and manifest itself in the work. For example I have noticed that while I was studying in Amsterdam, my work became highly conceptual, visually reduced, ‘strak’ (e.g. Graduation show project). However more recent projects I was working on in Belgium (Blow Job and Paper Love) are rather exuberant in their visual language, and humorous.
Which famous local artists inspire you?
“Conventie, een soort herinnering, is het grootste beletsel om te genieten van leven en kunst," (Convention, a sort memory, is the greatest obstacle to enjoy life and art) as Piet Mondriaan puts it, is close to describe my artistic attitude.
Currently I live and work both in Holland and Belgium -- contemporary Dutch artist Job Koelewijn is inspiring for me as well as Belgian artist living in Mexico Francis Alys among many others. One of the most Influential artists of my practice and way of thinking would be Joseph Beuys.
Which up and coming local artists do you find worth mentioning?
There are plenty of really interesting artist, although only very few become ‘known’ and they keep being hyped by galleries and media – among many others Johanna de Schipper and Kelly Kerssens (www.thenewcollagists.com), Jasper Coppes http://jaspercoppes.com/ , Michal Jurys (www.gerritrietveldacademie.nl/nl/eindexamens/2010/beeldende-kunst/michal-jurys) with whom we collaborate on the paper and presentation for the upcoming ASCA conference Theory and Practice at the UvA.
How easy or difficult is it to mix with the local artistic community?
On one hand, Amsterdam art scene seems very easy going and approachable (it is so small and everybody knows everybody) however to gain the recognition and invitations to show your work where you would like, somehow is not that easy. The atmosphere is friendly but also somewhat pretentious compared to that of Belgium, where the art scene seems to be much more diverse with more openness.
Can you offer some advice to people wishing to break into the local art scene?
I am not sure I am the one to give such advice. It feels like I could do with some good advice myself! However I believe, that hard work and inherent integrity is important as well as a humble and respectful attitude, and honesty.
What kind of financial support is available for artists working in your country of residence?
Although the Dutch are cutting the budget for art, still there are varieties of funds and governmental support available to artists. It is a rather comfortable environment compared to the situation in many other countries, but the art market is also very different in Holland than elsewhere. Although the rules of the funds are very clear, the selection always remains a mystery. It is a kind of lottery.
How would you describe the art scene in your current country of residence; for instance is it thriving or not in good shape?
Diverse and interesting, I am still at the introductory level in the Belgian art scene.
Would you like to add anything?
I am interested in emphasising something that changes one’s perception of the reality, as we know it. My work deals with an ever-changing nature of things and concepts of space, time and the self, as well as beauty and impermanence. The form echoes the content of my works, which are temporary events rather than objects and different from moment-to-moment. I am interested in the human condition, hence investigating the phenomenology of our perception, emotions and memory. Issues such as borders, separations and interconnectivity are reoccurring themes. Sometimes my works address issues of language, communication and gender. For more information about my work, visit www.cholmogorova.com.
"Respiration" (plastic sheeting)--Amerika" building, Atlas complex Arena, Amsterdam 2009
Joining Expat Voices
We'd love to hear what you have to say about life in the Netherlands. To add your voice and receive the questionnaire, click on one of our links below to the questionnaire of your choice. We also invite you to share images and a video which you feel conveys more about your life abroad. Click below now!
Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.