From Diana Palmer

30 Mar - 19 Apr 2018



Trélex was my first residency and an appetising taste of creative freedom. I arrived at the end of March this year and already I am imagining going back – and for longer next time. It was three weeks of exceptional physical and mental space, as well as stimulating discussions with the other artists. I became more engaged with my ideas, working methods and influences, and followed the threads of my art practice more rigorously than normal.



My work is based in painting and spatial relations, so the mountainous landscape and the uniquely designed Maison Binet made a strong impression. In my first week at Trélex I absorbed the space, countryside, architecture, light, colours, textures and atmosphere. I took loads of photos, creating a reference library of images. I quickly got to know my fellow residents, Crimson Boner and Min Kim. Even though she was in New Zealand, I met the residency’s formidable founder, Nina Rodin, via Skype on my first night. Nina’s commitment to the residency and its artists is truly limitless!



Every morning I made loose cumulative pencil drawings on paper, reacting to my surroundings with simple lines. I now want to merge the drawings in a moving image piece emphasising fluidity. I started painting by responding to the fast-changing light and weather of the Jura mountains. These elements mixed with ideas I had arrived with for continuing work.




I worked in diluted acrylic with large brushstrokes, seeking a sense of fluidity and intuitive bodily movement.    Since visiting the Ugandan jungle last year I have been working on paintings of that lush landscape and it was a continuing subject for me at Trélex. Working from images of the all-encompassing vegetation of the rainforest, I began picking out individual leaves with loose brush marks to create a minimal composition.



This jungle painting with its curving composition sparked an idea that the shape of a swag (a drooping curve) could be a useful starting point for work relating to flow and performance. I had brought with me a photo of myself paragliding, images of my grandmother performing as a dancer in the 1950s, and photos of the life drawings I had made over the previous few months. These interests could be combined in the creation of swag shapes, suggesting a theatrical space where performing figures might merge with their environment. I immediately started planning pieces around this theme for a solo show I am working towards in September. I experimented with painting a piece of cotton fabric hung loosely from the beams above the studio space. I also drew swag-shaped objects and played with fabric hung inside the back of a wooden panel to suggest a stage.



But Trélex was more than just an opportunity to reflect on my practice. The residency is a chance to become part of a global community of artists. I made connections with many other artists: Min, Crimson and Nina, as well as previous residents and those represented in the substantial library of books in the studio. Discovering their work and processes, as well as drawing encouragement from them and sharing inspiration with them, was an invaluable part of my stay at Trélex. I feel very lucky to be part of our ongoing chats.It was hard to leave Trélex and return to normal life but I came back to London invigorated, with a lot of work in progress and a determination to commit more energy to developing my practice, as well as to continue and begin conversations with other artists. Trélex provides a precious opportunity for many types of artists and I will always be grateful to Nina for creating it and encouraging artists through this generous offering of supportive engagement and creative freedom.


From Crimson Boner

28 Mar - 16 Apr 2018



The views near my home are stunning, the beach and the estuary.
The cost of living is such that I work and my husband works two jobs. We have two children and I spend my life juggling these commitments. I feel worried about money most days.

But, every day I walk across our beautiful bridge and allow myself a few minutes to enjoy the estuary. The mud is viscous and glossy, sometimes pricked by birds footprints; deep, tidy tridents in the gloop. 

The materiality of the mud gives me great pleasure. I love the huge swoop of sky above the river, reflected in the glass bridge.
It's a tidal river, so the view changes all day, every day.  It's my daily ritual; a moment of gratitude and of placing myself. I know many others who live here enjoy this too. 
This bridge is a stunning piece of design, engineering and collaboration. Time was needed for all aspects of its conception and construction and it is appreciated every day by so many.



I was taught at SOAS that the flint axe, was the first piece of art, that we know of. I was taught that Egyptian culture was rich in artefacts because of the material richness of the Nile and consequent wealth of the civilisation. That art preserved for posterity was funded and bought by those with the time and money to do so. That financial inequality and the story of power is reflected in the story of art, and as such, that much is lost. 
That art is an event; a ritual; a celebration. Art is a conduit and a vessel for ideas and practice, shaping and reflecting the community. Art is a conversation and artists need and long for community and discussion. 

Trelex gave me the time to reflect on my place in the world and the place of art in the world. Time to reflect on time. 

Trelex reminds me of working for Tom Morris, when he was Director of BAC. He knew that artists needed support and time; to play; to discuss; to innovate; to make mistakes and ultimately to make and develop work. He nurtured those processes and gave artists the time and space they needed. He created a dialogue between artists in different forums ('a Beer for an Idea') and got artists together to make unexpected work, e.g 'Jerry Springer The Opera'.

Trelex works on the same understanding, that artists may follow a thread intensively without knowing where it will lead. The process is to drift; to look; to read; to discuss; to make; to look again; to make mistakes; to make discoveries. And time and community are essential to the process. 
You do not need to state your intention or objective in order to be accepted. You just have to be an artist, to apply and turn-up. 

Cuts to arts funding sideline art in state schools. Artists, like everyone else, are coping with the pressures of meeting basic human needs. How can they make time to make work when they can barely afford to pay the rent and buy food? 

As artists, young and old, we internalise these negative cultural messages about art; is art unnecessary, frivolous, an indulgence. Or perhaps art is an elite practice for the few who are wealthy enough to be able to indulge.

As a mother of two, it is extremely difficult for me to take time to myself. Instead, I worry that I should be earning money; looking after my children; and cleaning my house. 
How do I justify pursuing a process with an outcome which is uncertain? 
To make art is to make mistakes; to follow whims; to have accidental successes; joy found in drifting, discovery and losses.
Trelex helped me to see that without the artistic process, I am not a well person. I am not a fully functioning person. I am also failing my community. 

What Nina has created is hugely generous and extraordinarily insightful. 
This is a residency open to all artists of all media and all levels of professionalism. Acknowledging that all artists start somewhere. That all of us share common needs and that success in art is not necessarily chronological.  That if you get a bunch of artists together, ideas will flourish. That artists are hugely influenced by each other. 
It is an egalitarian approach and sidesteps the entrenched elitism of academia and the art world; an elitism which protects assets, but does not necessarily benefit the artistic process.

I had very little belief in myself and my practice when I arrived at Trelex. But what I found there was a community; and time. I was gifted time. 
It was a shock at first, after 10 years of mothering. A real shock. To have time. To be important enough to be allowed time to myself. To drift. Not the usual dismiss and prioritisation of my thoughts, but just to observe them with curiosity and follow where theyed me. 

Nina has an incredible library and so I carried a sack of books around for the whole time I was there. My beautiful, single accommodation was just off the huge shared studio. So I made work whenever I wanted to, without having to fit it into an allotted time slot. It came when it was ready and I purged and painted and drew, without a schedule, but I worked every day.
I sat in the garden and drew. I made films. I listened to music. I danced. I ate. I cried. I took long showers.
I talked intensively to the two other artists on the residency. 
I listened to their processes and their obsessions and looked at their work. That was probably the most exciting time for me. I loved hearing about their fascinations and looking at their work. 
We shared stories, supported and nurtured each other. We each expressed the value of this community; this time to share, the importance of having others look at and discuss our work. 

I became alive again. I started to see paintings and images. 
They moved more quickly through my mind than I could capture them. Washes of colours ; big, sloshy, brushmarks; ironies; insights; coincidences. 
I began to see myself, my processes, my motivations, again. They weren't lost, they were thriving and wriggling and vital.It felt like just the beginning. 

Perhaps it is the beginning?
I hope that I can keep this feeling. This way of working. 
Can I justify putting time aside to make work, regardless of whether it sells or not. Regardless of its success and failure. 
To believe that unforeseen things will come if I invest time in the process.
I hope that I can keep in contact with those artists, to keep the dialogue going. 

Thank you to Nina, to Trelex. For understanding what an artist needs and for nurturing that and making it a reality. For accepting artists in all their guises. For allowing me to be part of it all. Me.
I have often felt  disenfranchised as a mother, not relevant. Not a part of the dialogue. Not  enough. 

On a personal level it has been a very special experience.
For Nina to open her family home to accomplish this is incredible. 

Nina I am humbled by your generosity ; grateful for your courage; in awe of your insight; and spurred on by your tenacity.
But in knowing you, I am not surprised that you have accomplished this.

Trelex in itself is a great leap of faith, a collaboration and a process that I am hugely grateful and proud to have been a part of.






From Michelle Loa Kum Cheung

02 Jan - 7 Mar 2018







This has been my second visit to Trélex, my first time here was one year ago almost to the day. The first stay was two and a half weeks, this time round has been two and a half months. I don’t want to talk a lot about my work and the relationship of my practice and the time spent here – in my last blog post I talked about the value of the freedom and access to play which in my “real” life is often drowned out, made methodical and suppressed. 

For this post, I want to talk about the experiences, conversations and foods that were brought to the residency table by the other people I met and lived with during my time here, each with individual practices, approaches to their art and to life in general. And whilst each of us had our own deadlines and goals during our time here, when we came together, went to shows, shared food or read tarot, I can’t express how amazing I found each of these artists. They are all female, all from different backgrounds and all with stories and views of the world which I found completely inspiring and intriguing. 

There is of course Nina Rodin, the Danish, supremely busy and methodical, permanent artist in residence who incredibly has had three solo shows during the past 2.5 months, in New York, Geneva and Maastricht! Feline Minne, a Belgian artist currently completing her PhD in London who I found incredibly intriguing and engaging, and for me becomes her art. Rachel Levitsy, an unfailingly generous and spirited poet from New York and her companion and partner in crime who channels his cuteness up through his ears. Min Kim, from South Korea and currently breaking trends and uprooting the regime whilst living in Amsterdam, even if she and they don’t realise it yet. Of course, Abi Box, who we all know and who maintains her art practice and the practices of so many people all the way across the pond in Bermuda! And special mention to Anaïs Rodin, my partner in cake, who may be the most incredible one of us all yet. 

I hope future artists will continue to find solace and inspiration in the landscape, time, air, silence and everything that the Trélex Residency has to offer. Artists may bring their own tools and weapon of choice for tackling their creativity, but for me it has been the people who I have found to be the biggest source of stimulation for my beliefs and way of thinking. It is a gross understatement to say that what the Trélex Residency and Nina Rodin offer is rewarding, fulfilling and invaluable. It is such a rare and special thing – for the Rodin family to open up their lives and routine to each passing creative in an incredibly generous way that cannot be measured. The studio here is a cocoon with conditions ready to incubate and gestate ideas, before releasing them back out into the world. It will have a lasting impact on my life as an artist and will no doubt do the same for all future artists, and make a world which seems strained against the threat of fracture closer and more interconnected, bit by bit. 

So after 2.5 months, 4 visual artists, 1 poet, 2 dogs and countless blocks of cheese, I will keep wishing I had just one more week here though I am off on another adventure and will hopefully return back to Trélex one day.





From Féline Minne

08 - 16 Jan 2018



I spent one week at the Artist Residency in Trélex, Switzerland (8 January - 16 January 2018), where I made 28 drawings in which I appropriated my sketchbook imagery.

Every time I go to an artist residency, I learn something about human encounters and communication skills. What I learned at the Artist Residency in Trélex, Switzerland, is how to remain positive while deferring a question about my work. Nina Rodin, the founder, is very helpful and generous. She loves looking and talking about other people’s work. This has been particularly helpful to me because I like looking at my work together with other people. I believe this reveals a lot about the person who is looking rather than facts about the actual work. Before I came to this residency, when asked a question that isn’t relevant to me in relation to my work, I was used to answering: ‘No, that’s not what it’s about.’ That's an honest answer, but people don't like hearing 'no' or that they got it wrong. Thanks to Nina, I learned that it’s better to say: ‘That’s a very interesting question. Thank you for bringing that up. However, I haven’t thought about it in that way, so I don’t know. Maybe it will come to me later. In the meantime, can we talk about…’.  No one is born a good communicator. This is something one has to learn. By writing this blog post, I wish to share this tip with my peers. Hopefully, it can be helpful to you.

Now that I am back home in London, I’m looking for a studio to rent, so that I can translate these images onto a larger scale and with different materials in order to further explore the mingling realms of fantasy and reality, invention and observation.




Féline Minne


From Carly Dorrington

24 Nov 2017 - 4 Jan 2018



My time at Trelex was so much more than I could of expected. It was my first artist residency and I was as equally apprehensive as I was excited. I tried not to have too many expectations for my time spent in the studio and whilst wanting to make the most of this gift, I also wanted to let things flow.
As an artist that is always trying to balance other commitments and longing for uninterrupted time to play and explore this was an absolute blessing for me.

Nina and her family were friendly, accommodating and very relaxed. I felt very welcomed and comfortable setting up base and transforming the studio into a perfect working environment. As my residency was just under two months over the festive season, I knew I had time to explore and work solidly in the studio.

For the first week it was hard to start up my rusty train brain and I began with simple activities, collecting materials, painting forms, but also hugely procrastinating and being lazy which I think was a vital step before I could really get into a state of flow with my work. The time to research and read from Nina's extensive library was also a vital part of the process. I found this helped me to question my own work and where I wanted to go, what materials I could play with. I found staring out the windows with a fresh coffee always seemed to help. The sky and light in Switzerland is very special luminous, clear and fresh.

Nina was great at explaining what materials and items were available for use and generously let us use her car for short trips and for finding materials. She was also equally helpful through out my stay, suggesting new techniques, artists and inspirations, though busy with her own projects and travels, she always found time to check in and was genuinely excited when I set up my installation at the end of my residency.

Trelex itself is a sleepy small town with lots of character, the house has a beautiful vast garden and plenty of local walks and hikes. I quickly discovered on the coldest days, my favorite thing to do was to jump on the small train close to the house and travel up to the french boarder, stopping at smaller towns along the way, I have never seen such pure white snow and it felt like stepping out into a new world. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be during the summer months.

I also took several trips into Geneva, around the whole lake and even to Mont Blanc, these trips and landscapes were in a way as inspiring as my time spent working, to feel the sense of awe again, staring at a huge mountain was such a refreshing feeling, which gave me huge amounts of energy.

I found having my room so close to my studio spot gave me such a relaxed feeling, having the ease and freedom to work during the evening was great. The days were so beautiful I would often go for a local run or walk to start my day and then work all evening. Most days I would wake eager to get started and it was truly great to feel an uninterrupted enthusiasm again without concerning myself with any other outside distractions my days fell into a rhythm of simply, reading, researching, creating, walking and eating. It was a great recipe for me and my work. I slept soundly every single night.

I cant recommend this residency enough and will be ever thankful to Nina for her support to artists, generosity and openness. It is very rare to have and opportunity like this without the huge headache of a lengthy application process and it offers artist the most important thing… time. I returned to my studio  in Berlin in January with lots of claret, eagerness to continue down new pathways and excited to play with more new ideas and materials.

I cant wait to go back.

http://carlydorrington.com



From Shameera Wiest

31 Oct - 23 Nov 2017



“When people concentrate on the idea of beauty, they are, without realizing it, confronted with the darkest thoughts that exist in this world. That, I suppose, is how human beings are made.”  ― Yukio Mishima, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion  

Here at the Trélex residency, I am surrounded by all that is beautiful and pure. Air--pollution free. Nature-- mountains all around me. Nurture-- a warm home to think and create..  



But coming to Trelex from Beijing,  I cannot find release from the grey smog that has been my near-daily companion for the last year.   


Smog from my window in China

The dark foreboding of cameras and guards that greet me at every step in my neighborhood.   

As the orange leaves and red rooftops of Trélex and dark leafy green peaks of surrounding Jura seek to make an impression, my subconscious remains assaulted by grey or pollution, metallic compounds, architecture and chemical-laden air.   

During this residency, I am working on a variety of projects.   



Drawing scenes of scenes at the window for further research on color

Reading books found in the book collection in my room, to understand the definition of sublime and subconscious, thematic concepts in my paintings.   

Editing video clips of daily morning window views from Beijing to supplement a series of oil paintings I have been working on in my home studio.  



Paintings in progress at Trelex  

Visiting art exhibits in Lausanne, Geneva, Basel and bordering Germany to gather inspiration. In Lausanne  Ai Wei Wei's exhibition on his observations of China; in Geneva and Basel fine art museums to study the exploration of sublime by classical and contemporary painters ranging from Titian to Barnett Newman; and in Germany the Vitra Design Campus to study the intersection of art and science. Inspired by this research, I painted a series of 6 oil canvases for my upcoming exhibit in Beijing, titled "To the Edge of Visibility"


Artist Zaha Hadid. Fire Station, Vitra DesignCampus, Germany. 1993

Engaging in vibrant, nurturing conversations with fellow artist and writer, Catriona to further self-assess for the purpose of our individual work.  I will cherish this experience at Trelex as a crucial turning point in my growth as an artist and thank Nina for her guidance and access to her lovely home.



www.shameerawiest.com


From Catriona Knapman

02 Jan - 7 Mar 2018




At the heart of art: my residency in Trelex 

Some things in life only make sense in the oddest of ways. Circles, rhythm, synergy, seasons, hope. That was my experience of learning of the last-minute opportunity to visit Trelex. I wanted to go but there were also many very logical reasons not to. Still, I listened to the invitation and there I was a few days later on a train past Lake Geneva, amazed by Mont Blanc crystal clear in the distance.  

I was stuck by the beauty and the colours when I arrived at the end of October. The deep red of the leaves, the amazing blue of the sky. The garden turning gold around the house, the steady presence of the mountains in the distance. I began to know the sounds: the cow bells in the nearby fields, the church bells chiming, the clock striking the hour, the train trundling past the station. Then to know the shape of those hills; to expect their steep slopes and snowy peaks. I absorbed them deep into me, by looking first, then by walking. Long walks from one village to the next, whispering my stories to the thick-barked trees, listening to the songs of the bright autumn leaves, finding my way to peaks and down valleys, which as the weeks went on became covered ankle deep in the first snows. It did not stop me, still I walked, finding my way through the now hidden footpaths of the Jura, watching the snow melt into rivers, then recrystallise, reform, seeing the roots and the moss of the trees covered and uncovered, seeing my breath hot at each bend. Resting in mountain cabins to drink tea, talk to the owners, edit pages, ride the mountain train back to Trelex.   

For me this is writing and how I knew I wanted to teach myself to write: not from the head, but from the heart. A process which had already begun but which I could not have done at this depth without the container of Trelex, the endless possibilities for wandering, the window and the desk waiting when I returned. Each morning my heart was out there somewhere and I went looking for it, shutting the door on eager and much loved Talisker, setting out to find myself, resolve myself and in the process find my words, find my writing. Carefully uncovering, like removing the first layer of snow from an untouched bench: what needed to be said.   

And so, my days blended into routines of long walks in the forest, talking with Talisker, interesting chats and a new friendship with fellow resident Shameera, exploring my writing practice, not from the outside in, but from the inside out, and all the while knowing that my progress could not be measured by the number of words on the page or the number of completed projects. I did make progress in writing projects and in scoping out ideas, but that was not my measure for success. Success instead came from finding myself, feeling strong in myself, knowing myself and writing that came from that place. Each time I was drawn into ambition and structure, I pulled myself back outside, onto the paths, looking for nature, rhythm, flow.   

I fell in love with the trees around St Cergue, the beautiful forest and the long winding, meticulously signposted paths of the Swiss Jura. There in those walks, over and over again, writing at its deepest level, creation at its deepest level happened.   

I came to Trelex by chance, or perhaps I came because it was exactly where I was meant to be. Either way I am grateful for ending up at the door of Nina’s house, for having the freedom to explore my writing practice in the way I needed to at that time, to Nina for offering that space freely with no judgement, critique, or pressure.   

I have always believed art is about process as much as about finished product but in our results driven society I have had trouble to make that a reality. Yet, I know that it is on that level that art has the potential to heal the artist and in doing so heal the world around him or her. A finished product is a nice end point, just like the summit of the Dole in the Jura mountains or the top of Mont Blanc, but the journey there is where the value lies. In Trelex, I could hold that knowing close each day and start to believe in it. So rare in our Western world of products, deadlines, to be able to go at the pace we need to go at, to uncover what we need to uncover, to dig deep, then dig some more. I left Trelex knowing this truth even more so and feeling more confident in myself as a writer, that this was me and this was how to feed and nourish my artist.   

While wandering the Jura, a poem I wrote five years ago in Burma came alive to me, circling in and out of my head. I took many photos and videos as I walked and this video poem was the outcome. For me it captures the beauty of the forests and the understanding I found there: we are so often searching outside for what is already in us all along. Still we have to search over and over again. That is living and there it is. Walking the paths around Trelex it was so clear: there is joy in that search too. In fact, that is exactly where the heart is.