In the following two weeks Eva Caridi, a Greek-English artist, will present a pop-up mulitmedia installation, Nude, at Ambika P3. The site-specific work is an 11-ton artwork consisting of two labyrinths and is one of the largest installations ever shown in central London. The installation took over five years to complete and will be on for only two weeks so you should definitely take the time to visit it. The exhibition is curated by Francesca Nannini, an emerging contemporary art curator from Milan.
I met up with Eva Caridi who is now in London setting up the monumental installation. It was great getting the artist’s own view on her work as sometimes we tend to get lost in the overanalysis of art historians and art critics.
EM The exhibition is entitled Nude. How does this express the work you are presenting at Ambika P3?
EC Every issue such as; the sense of being, human co-existence and its limitedness, the meaning of technique and the work of art; bears itself with the so far unresolved and never asked question of exposure, the Nude. The contemporary Western society has tried to exorcise this concept in every way, through a spectacular exposure of the naked body. Personally, I wasn’t interested in this spectacular exposure but I was thinking more about the nudity that goes beyond nudity itself. I was deconstructing, strictly speaking, its cultural phenomenon. The work I am presenting in London, can be made sense of only through reflection on the transcendental Nudity, understood and investigated as a fundamental condition of existence.
EM Nude explores a variety of media and materials: sculpture, installation, video, iron and plaster. Why did you choose all of these different methods?
EC My research aims to tie the elements dynamically to one another to create a meaningful whole, through a variety of stimulations. The whole is more than the sum of its parts and assumes that, in order to understand its essence, it is important to analyse it and get an overall view. Specifically, to try and perceive it within the global context.
EM The installation covers over 14,000 square feet and uses about 11 tonnes of steel. Could you explain the reasons for its monumental scale?
EC Proportions in sculpture are essential and dimensions are just a tool that the artist employs to achieve the aim.
EM The labyrinths exhibited have a distinct Hellenic dimension. How is your Greek background incorporated in this work?
EC Greek philosophy relates the research of the untouched, pure, and eternal as an implied remedy to the fundamental dimension of existence: this cultural background has been reflected in my work since the beginning.
EM Nude also seems to have a personal note and all of the characters (sculptures and video) are female. Was this a conscious choice or did the work develop in this way organically?
EC The human condition – starting from Time as expressed in my work – tells and edits the woman’s body, as well as, the entire history of humanity and the history of the individual. It goes beyond and yet dwells on the details and the perfect imperfections that mark its steps: the journey of life through the door of the body ages, the body as the container of life. I have chosen to stage myself and my family and in this sense, this work is very conscious.
EM The work has been described as an interactive installation. In what sense does the audience take on a role in this work?
EC I’ve been experimenting on the issue of empathy with the public through my work for many years. All the planning, the research of media and materials, the personal studies, as well as, the close collaboration with a psychologist, have contributed to create the incentives and involve the visitors more and more in the work of art to the point of engulfing them in this one. In this sense the work of art has the potential to communicate individually and, at the same time, collectively.
EM This is the first time you are exhibiting in the UK. What do you think the significance of showing your work in London is?
EC London is my mother’s native land, and therefore I feel very close to it. It has a very personal meaning for my work and my life.
EM How do you see your work developing in the next couple of years? Are you going to continue with monumental installations?
EC I feel positive about it and ready to welcome other big challenges. I love to work on a big scale and on site specific projects.
EM If you had to sum up the essence of Nude in one sentence what would you say?
EC I will use a quote from Socrates to sum up the inspiration and the essence of Nude: “Know thyself”.
Nude will be on from January 12th to January 22nd 2012. Ambika P3, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS