From Dim Tim


1 Oct - 4 Dec 2018


In the studio
63 days at Trelex … for three of us in Dim Tim Art Collaborative Group, it was the place where the artist finds the peace and feels the freedom. Conditions for work were magnificent. Working space was equipped with indispensable items, all that artist could ask for. There was also substantial selection of books about art, artists and history of art. At the beginning we were told that it is not easy to organize an exhibition in any of local galleries and that sometimes it takes years. Anyway we suggested Nina that we can paint mural on some suitable wall in the area. We mentioned our experience to enlarge our paintings and paint them as murals on the walls in different places. May be the school could be such a place. So Nina made important initial steps.
Nina asked a friend to make for us the first contact with prominent International School of Geneva. Also she organized the meeting with Madame Eve-Marie Koehler, the director of the International School for talented and advanced children in Etoy. Ecole Germaine de Stael was the school which her daughter and son were both attending. 

As the first step we agreed to give a lecture for the students of International School of Geneva and to present our work. Then the management asked if we can provide two simulation drawings for the mural on the main wall of reception hall at the main entrance to the school. We made two proposals and soon the choice was made. Conditions were excellent and we painted our mural Roadmap to success. The inauguration of the mural was great; it was organized in the form of Dim Tim Art conference with the lecture on history of murals. Students gave us a selection of their written thoughts about our mural and that is part of our art portfolio now. At the end of the event Ecolint management made for us champagne party with snacks and sweets. 

Our plan for Ecole Germaine de Stael was different, this time the mural lecture was followed by a workshop. More than 20 students took part so we organized them in three groups. First group has free choice to make drawings of different forms. We were involved of course and later the stencils were made. Second group was with Danijela, mixing and preparing different acrylic colors. They were mostly Ice cream colors as we prefer to call them. Finally, third group was preparing the walls with Milenko and painted rhombic frames for the mural. When we started to compose the forms students were very excited. Mural was emerging quickly and we saw many happy faces. The result was great and everybody liked the murals. Next day students also wanted to help, but Dim Tim of course had to do some corrections and to finalize the Rolling square mural, 16 meters long. Iskra was invited to attend the school for one month and it was great experience for a six year old.
The four murals that we left in Geneva and Etoy were our gifts to the community and to generations of children. 

During the residency we made 21 minimalistic ink drawings on special and rare Dzo paper that we brought from Vietnam; later we applied few details made of specially embossed leafs of gold. Following Nina’s advice we also started with some basic bookbinding practice.


Drawings on Dzo paper
For our exhibition Bauhaus Revisited 1919-2019, which was planned for May 2019, we painted one acrylic on canvas dim 100 x 200 cm; the painting Bauhaus Revisited was geometrical in black and white color and dedicated to Bauhaus centenary.


Bauhaus revisited
The period of year that we spent in Trelex could be considered as mild and dry autumn. The photographs testify the richness of pallet that nature offered in shades of yellow, orange and brown. It was real and beautiful Indian summer that we enjoyed very much all the time. Long walks by the lake, passing and touching vineyards and castles; Jura and the magnificent view towards Mont Blanc, the same view that was enjoyed by some of greatest masters of written words, to mention Rilke and Voltaire only. 


Our daughter Iskra was picking grapes and berries in the garden and was excited picking apples to feed the neighbor’s horses. She was sad when the fox ravaged the pen one night and left on the grass only few gray feathers. Six beautiful hens disappeared overnight. 
Alexander and Iskra made special masks and toured the village for the Halloween; they collected a pile of candies.  
It was great that we could use the car; it was indispensable for supplies and shopping. It also took us to Martigny, a wonderful little town in the Swiss Alps, a magic place that we already visited 6 years earlier. There is Pierre Gianadda Foundation, the private collection of sculptures in open air, one of the best in Europe and lovely museum with a dedicated antique car section downstairs - not to be missed by car enthusiasts. Upstairs there was retrospective exhibition of Soulages, the master of Black color, as well as the permanent display of Roman artifacts found on the site. We highly recommend this place for the visit as we had marvelous time there. 
Visit to Lausanne was great. The city is more interesting for art lovers than Geneva. There we found some special branded paints we needed the most. Just opposite to the Cathedral (must see) is MUDAC, the Museum where we visited exhibition about Bauhaus. The Art Brut Museum established by Dubuffet was catching our attention by surprise. There were also few high quality photograph exhibitions, to mention only Liu Bolin at Museum Elysee.


Dim Tim at MEG, Geneva
The Trelex residency was great experience for us as to develop our art further and to open and explore some new chapters. It was productive but also interesting and culturally comprehensive. The walks and tours that we had around Trelex and Lake Leman, exhibitions that we visited during 63 beautiful days are going to stay in our memory.
Finaly we have to thank Nina and David for all the hospitality and understanding, to Annais and Alexander for exchange of smiles and to Jonathan for help and interesting conversation during our stay.
Dim Tim Art Collaborative Group

From Fay Ku



15 July - 24 Aug 2019


I can never predict how a new environment will impact my work, except that it’s usually the more humdrum and pedestrian arrangements that produces the biggest shifts—and that I am usually am unaware of their influence until afterwards. 

For five weeks, Trélex would be my idyllic temporary home and respite from New York City I set up the studio so that I would command the breathtaking view over the fields and into the mountains, the colors and lights constantly shifting. I loved my view so much, I felt little need to actually go out into the physical nature. Instead, I began the transformation that usually happens: I left the socialized land of the living as I adopted later and later working hours, barely leaving the third floor, much less even leaving Trélex for Nyon, Geneva and beyond. I am usually an active person, social, physical, with a love of grocery shopping and cooking elaborate meals, here instead I curled inwards, my life becoming more asetic, cloistering myself like some atheist nun—a fantasy enhanced by the church bells, heard and not seen, reminiscent of the funeral at sea in Lars Van Triers’s Breaking the Waves

Here is an example of a works I completed soon before coming to Trélex. In hindsight, I must have been anticipating being in a less urban environment.

The Desert is My Home, 2019, graphite and oil paint on translucent film, 20 x 30 inches

While there is no requirement to produce work (as I would have preferred to spend the time doing more research and replenishment), I had both a solo and group exhibitions, and therefore internal pressure towards production. As a veteran of several residencies (Trélex is lucky 13th, officially), I’ve learned to bring at least one work already in progress so I can begin with the ground running. When I brought this to Trélex, but then only the faces and hair had been drawn, the bodies barely outlined.  

Untitled (in progress), graphite on translucent film, 20 x 30 inches

I left with it still not completed, though I hope to finally do so back in Brooklyn. The flora and fauna, as patterns on skin and clothing, felt unconnected to my new surroundings. Although the work I had done before Trelex contained nature elements, they were more graphic, more like patterns, and often contained to the body and clothing, a form structured onto another central form that provides the narrative focus. As the days and weeks progressed during the residency, the vegetation grew more fecund, more enveloping, and more like a principal character itself.  

King Flower, graphite on cut and layered translucent film, 24.5 x 30 inches

In this work, not only does the sunflower function as an equal (and confrontational) figure, but the vegetation expands beyond the picture frame, extending into the rule world. Also (and this was not consciously done), the perspective of the human figure is skewed, compared to the fully frontal, direct point of view of the other works—as though the figures are tilting away from me. I only realized this a few days ago, the fact of moving from the walls to work to the table, and hence my bodily relationship to the work, affected the perspective of which I drew the characters.

My studio in Brooklyn does not have a window (though I have lovely natural light via a skylight) and I work on the walls while standing, facing my work like facing a person, often eye to eye with my characters. Because I work with graphite on translucent Mylar, I pick up the texture of any surface that is not perfectly smooth. The studio in Trélex came with a desk with a glass surface (perfect for incredibly fine, detailed work), and situated in front of this great with a breathtaking view, so for five weeks I switched from vertically confronting my work to hovering over a horizontal surface, with nature surrounding me through all my senses.

Despite my self-sequestration, I did make a handful of trips, including to Venice, a seven-hour spectacular train. (The other artists-in-residence in Nyon at the time were all from the UK and poked fun at me for positing Venice as close by). My desire was to check out the Biennale and glimpse the global art world at a glance, but it was the interior of the Basilica of San Marco, its onslaught of visual information, history and different worlds that sparked the desire to capture something of that quality. I’m sure that was what was responsible for this work: 

Ripe, 2019, Untitled, graphite on cut an layered translucent film, 20 x 30 inches

Detail.  (Just a side note: the hair—on both the girl and the deer—and other fine details like the skin of the lips are created by using a hard pencil such as a 6H or even 10H by first drawing in the individual lines; next I use a softer pencil, like a 4B, and gently shade. The 10H scratches the surface so the soft pencil misses those fine lines, similar to inking a carved surface in relief printmaking. Thus, having a very smooth surface to draw on is incredibly important.)

The tilted perspective from the sunflower work rotates further in Ripe: the viewer is placed in a similar point of view (seeing the picture plan from above), mimicking my relationship hovering over the drawing. Again, this was not consciously decided at the time, only something I noticed very recently, though it now seems obvious.

While working on this piece, I had an empty space in the top left corner—I knew that I wanted to fill up the entire space, but I didn’t want to keep drawing dying vegetation (which themselves may have been  inspired by the compost collected and then fed to the chickens). Because of the intensity of the drawing, and because I don’t hold the pencil in the “correct” way to prevent potential tendinitis and carpal tunnel, I was forced  to take  a rest day to give my wrist a break. A day trip to Colmar as pilgrimage to the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald provided a jolt of inspiration. Here are two of the panels... look at the one at the right...


Look closer:


I enjoy examining after a residency the subtle influences that shape the work—but I also enjoy when I encounter a very direct source of inspiration!

I now have 4 to 5 works in various stages of completion, and I’m excited to see how the return to NYC will in turn affect the ones still in progress. I know the effects of Trélex will continue to work its influence, bringing in fresh visual ideas and concepts for months to come. Thank you Nina, and thank you Trélex!

August 25, 2019
Brooklyn, NY

From Helen Knowles and Ezra Elia


24 - 31 Jan 2019

Angelot Residency



Helen

Black Night White Snow

The bank of trees right-angle the field where the house is, this marks the edge. The abyss, the realm of indistinct velvet uncertainty.

Ezra scribbles furiously.

We left with the intention of writing a love-song to a non-human entity. Each night darkness envelopes the house. We walk out into the field, an expanse rather like a rectangle of paper, crisply cut to trim the plot of land. Snow snaps sharp like paper. We are hemmed in by the black mountains and forest. 

We read Timothy Morton on the couch, crushed together, frustrated and intrigued by his inaccessible thoughts. We jump into the car in the morning and head for CERN. An epigraph to the underworld. Speed and matter and minuscule things collide, apparently. But when we get to the architectural warehouses and functional science buildings of one of the largest experiments in the world, we do not know where to look. Do we look at the shabby low-lying buildings, the torpedo-like oversized bullet plonked outside the half hearted Public Understanding of Science building? 

Ezra says “it’s like going to Jurassic Park and being shown the broom cupboard’. 

Each night, we come up with a new script and then we trundle out into the darkness and horizontal snow with the camera and Ezra performs the script. We find it so funny, falling in love with the darkness, that we roll about in hysterics and as we flash strips of light with the torch across the field to light our protagonist, he (Ezra) can hardly get the words out of his mouth cause he is laughing so hard and shouting over the weather.

Ezra

There is a car, and two other artists, and Helen. We are at the airport, grinning at muscular concrete, at each other, at the huge mountains pressing against a broad, grey sky. We mount a ribbon of road, which hovers across gridded farmscapes, warehouses, wildernesses and vague suburbs of nowhere. The road curves; we plunge off it, through narrow agricultural arteries, up into muffled plains of snow and affluence – a golf course, mansions, tennis courts and tall green fences. Everywhere is the hushed whisper of wealth – even the snow seems somehow arranged to sit just so, all cars and houses crisply set – not a dereliction in sight. We come to a long, lavish cottage, abutting a pink mansion beneath a broad white field. This is the Angelot residency. This is where we are supposed to write a love-song to a non-human entity. It seems just the right place. I can’t see another human anywhere. 

I am unwell, and sleepless. I stagger to bed, sweat, sleep, emerge to fondu, and a gaggle of other eager artists. We talk about ourselves, sheepishly, and then dwindle into a vigorous discussion on free will or its absence. I am still immensely tired, drunk tired, but excited. I feel embarrassed for talking too much, and saying too little. Later, Helen and I consider the goal. We strain to empathise with sapling trees, with stones and footprints in the snow, with darkness and the ‘backend’ of networks. We fail, mostly, but failing is fun.

From Rachel Wolfe

7 - 28 February 2019 

Angelot Residency 




To describe the Trélex Residency as unlike any artist residency feels like pointing out how deliciously warm the sun is after a long winter. But that’s exactly what it was like to spend a month in the countryside of the Swiss, French borderland. 

Because I grew up in a woodland area in a farm town I tend to gravitate towards finding peace and focus working in natural surroundings. Instead of getting saddled with social guilt of going around town, I witnessed smiling faces riding horses on my morning and evening walks. While mostly peaceful, I did have an exciting blind encounter with what sounded like two foxes within my first week. Unbeknownst to me, Switzerland has plenty of foxes! 

I had promised myself to journal everyday while on the residency, but what ended up happening was more productivity than I knew I was capable of. After a couple of days of introductions, I got the nudge to just put the paint to the paper, and so I was remembering how to mix colours and draw images with a brush-something I hadn’t done for almost two-decades. As I settled in the lovely surroundings, rekindled my fire building skills, I witnessed a change in my sense of doubt and security. Doubt is really important to me in my work, and sometimes I ebb and flow between venturing out to the edges of my ideas and swirl back to the practical need to attend to subjects I have committed myself to working with-namely beauty. 


On the residency it occurred to me the way I talk about my work makes it difficult to understand-but that the encounter of the work itself is considered poetic. Hearing someone else talk about my work has always been deeply valuable, and an experience I really cherish. There is a special kind of magic in gingerly sharing an idea, to have it understood as a worthwhile endeavour. There’s a modern myth of self-confidence I wrestle with, and so I had experienced a real difference in the reciprocity of attention, listening, and compassionate critique. The input from fellow residents was generative, and thoughtful. We commiserated on various experiences with academia, work, migrant living, finding ourselves every few days gathered for dinner, ridiculous hours of giggles, and hugs. 

The attitude of inclusivity, the sincerity, the lack of pretence or judgement tends to be rare in the world and so the residency became a place to fully embrace life and time without performance pressures. 

Read more from Rachel on her blog here

From Montse Gallego

1st March - 2nd April 2019



I spent a month in Trelex Residency with the purpose of focusing in the two projects I am currently developing: the Floating Forest series of paintings and the reflection & writing of my own life. I couldn't have found a more perfect environment for that.


I was welcomed by another artist, who very kindly came to collect me from Nyon train station, and, since there was no one else in the house at that moment (Nina Rodin and her family were abroad), she showed me all the basics of the house and even cooked me dinner before she left quite late at night. I spent the first two nights and days on my own in the house of this family who I never had met before! This, the trust that is offered to the artist, is the core of the uniqueness of Trelex Residency. Nina's principles are based on that and she and her generous family offers you the opportunity to come and do what ever you need to do, without any constraints or commitments but the response to that in your own practice and reflections. This unique and nurtured nest easily responds in its natural way: synchronicity. Trelex functions without specific plans, the artists invited are not selected, they just came on their own time from the waiting list in which their names were written and it is precisely that what works with an incredible precision because what it is to happen, happens.




My experience was that my work was enriched with the meetings with the other artists thatby chance;were there. Starting with the artist with who I was sharing the studio, Eva, who wanted to record a series of monologues by women telling the stories of their motherhood. I am a mother of three and I was writing about my motherhood. We did the recording and the story I told was another story, spontaneous, magical, honest and powerful. But there were other two women artists staying in a temporary extension of the Trelex residency in a near by forest, Kate O and Kate P, both mothers too, with who we shared conversations about their own experiences as mothers and artists. Nina Rodin (also mother of three) was the nexus of all these encounters while she was doing her own practice and working on the final constructions of Trelex Esp'Asse Residency in Nyon, in which we also contributed with some hours of work dragged by her enthusiasm and contagious energy.

The hours of a day in Trelex were magically longer than anywhere else, so I had time enough to produce an important number of paintings and a good push on my writing. I also shot a series of very minimal films which I am currently editing with its own soundscapes plus the recording of my motherhood story that Eva recorded. 

Peace, silence, a wonderful landscape, walks along the fields, the Jura Forest, the snowed mountains and the pristine lake, made it possible. I also had time for a couple of visits to Geneva and Lausanne and the fantastic opportunity of interacting with children in the International School of Geneva, an invitation from the Art Teacher Lucy Shaw that Eva and myself attended and where we presented different forms of expression and realms to the kids.


I just have an immense sense of gratitude to Trelex Residency and its maker, Nina Rodin, whose generous attitude is an example to follow for all of us who try to live in the outskirts of a crazy society in a moral and ethical decay. 




From Kate Orme

1 - 25 March 2019

Angelot Residency



I arrived at the `Angelot’ Trelex residency with fellow artist Kate Pickin in early March 2019, having driven there from Yorkshire in a car full of equipment and clothes for every eventuality !! Angelot is a few kilometers away from the main Trelex residency, it is remote, quiet, peaceful and perfect, snuggled in at the base of the Jura mountains. The house sits at the edge of a meadow used by herds of wandering deer from time to time, enclosed by woodland, there are no roads just the sounds of wildlife and the stream at the side of the house, something that Kate and I really appreciated. We both needed a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, some serenity to think about and make art with no other distractions, a time for us both to do nothing but eat, drink and sleep art with permission. 

I had arrived with thoughts of a particular work in mind, but things rarely pan out as you imagine. Unexpected things, better things, happen when you have the space in which to think, so my work developed beyond my expectations, some is now to be a part of a group exhibition in Lisbon during August and September, other works have been left dangling in the trees around the farmhouse, both because I needed to try them there, and also as a gift for Pascale (the house owner), to find at her leisure.


A part of my work there was to consider Loss and Lucidity, I found that Grief insistently inserted itself into those considerations and in the end it became about trying to find some lucidity when grief as a result of loss is unendurable. I wrote phrases over and over again on sheets of tissue paper, delicate paper so friable that it hardly exists itself. After the first few lines of repetition the words began to lose their meaning, I questioned the spellings, the words didn’t look right. By the time I reached the bottom of the page the writing was gobbledeygook, it made no sense, the meaning was lost. In the effort to reinforce a message or a connection, that very effort destroyed it all. I covered each page with PVA glue which gave a translucency, and stuck two pages together so that you could see the writing on both sheets, one behind the other. Even the attempt to mend or recover things and glue them back together only resulted in a further clouding of vision. I have recently developed an interest in Palimpsests and this work also fits in with that interest, in what memory is left behind when something is scraped clean and re-used. 


We met Nina and the artists from the main residency several times and as usual we had some amazing discussions and shared insights. I value these meetings more than I can say, the broader outlooks from artists working in ways that are far from my own practice, their enthusiasms, their opinions, their knowledge and their friendship inspire me. I feel lucky to know them, and actually managed to persuade those I met this year to make a piece of work which was then included in my exhibition in May this year. I know that I will continue to connect with them. Thank you Nina and Trelex for making that possible. 

The Practicalities

Nina and Pascale have put together a very useful manual for Angelot, it explains everything you need to know.

Although the farmhouse is isolated Pascale left her car to be used if necessary and there is also an electric bicycle for the fitter ones amongst us. There are no shops in the immediate vicinity so some transport is needed. There are supermarkets near the main residence in Trelex but we tended to shop just over the border in france as it was much cheaper, and you can combine it with a sunday morning market and oyster festival if you get the dates right (win win !!).

Although there was snow on the ground when we arrived, the house was cosy with two log burners to keep us warm and a log pile which would have lasted us until summer. Take warm slippers for indoors as there is a no outdoor shoes indoors policy. The kitchen is brand new and very well equipped, and the views from the kitchen windows of the Alps and Mont Blanc turning pink in the evenings are sublime, the sight of them made my heart sing. In the lounge there is a very comfortable sofa, sometimes shared with Ghandi the cat (who will sit next to you and purr but doesn’t like to be stroked, if you’re tempted - wear oven gloves). There is a new and pristine oak floor in the lounge which doubles as studio space, so we took plastic sheeting to put down under the tables that we used as work desks so we felt less nervous about making a mess.The bedrooms were very spacious, and we only needed to put the bedroom heaters on once during our time there despite it being winter. Warm bedding and towels (and hot water bottles) were provided, you just wash them and leave them clean for the next residents. There was always plenty of hot water. 


There is no TV, which was no problem for us as we just talked and read. There is wi-fi, it’s good for emails but very slow if you need to stream or do heavy browsing, so if you need visual entertainment pre-download your device before you get there.

We found it easy living and soon got into a daily rhythm, the acid test is would I go back? and the answer is Yes, in a heartbeat. 

Thank you Pascale for your generosity of spirit, it is beyond measure and value. Your home nurtured us and gave us a peaceful space. It is almost impossible to express just how important Angelot has been to us and how much we appreciate it and you.

From Kate Pickin

1- 25 March 2019 
Angelot Residency



I am an Artist from Sheffield in the UK. My practice is mainly 2D, painting and printmaking using photography as source material. I am part of Trafalgar Studios, 40 plus creatives in a large ex industrial building in the heart of Sheffield.

I had some idea of what I wanted to work on before arriving at Angelot. But of course these things change when in the actual experience. I was working through a particularly difficult time for me, on a personal level, and knew it must manifest in a physical way, and I found myself working both with a minotaur figure and also a human figure, both of which I made while at Angelot.

The break away from my usual environment, in a context that was new and strange, helped to focus the mind on only what was necessary in order to make the new work.

The environment

The little house is snuggled in between a small stream (the Boiron) and a wooded area, with agricultural roads leading to villages and towns.

The wood was inspirational; I wondered through it at differing times; the light changing with the weather and time of day. The river that runs through the wood was clear and pure, running down from the towering mountains behind us. 
Kate Orme and myself settled into a daily rhythm of food, lighting fires, looking after the resident cat (Ghandi) and working at our tables in the main room. Several times we visited the Trelex residency artists in a neighbouring village. Many deep and inspiring conversations ensued, and our differences only added to the creative mix.
We met many people connected in diverse ways to the residencies and to the locality;  on the winter solstice a ritual event took place in the woods, with a fire master and gathering of interested folk. Stories and dreams were recounted and shared in an atmosphere of integrity and confidence. What a privilege to be invited to share in this.

Work made

I had taken fabrics and stuffing to construct a minotaur head and shoulders which I wanted to wear. The canvas was too fresh and white so the pieces were wetted in the river then trampled in the ashes from the fire, before roughly sewing the minotaur together. To wear this in the late evening out in nature felt liberating, fresh, and primeval.

As I walked through the wood one evening, scattering the white ashes from the fire, I noticed that it appeared very ghostly as it diffused into the air, so began to take pictures to capture this. These are now images that will form part of a body of work in the future, I use these pictures in my paintings, sometimes having held onto them and collected over many years, never really knowing when they might be integrated into a new work.

As we had limited resources it helped to focus the mind to what might be possible. I began to make monoprints, using black and white inks rolled onto a ceramic tile. These were Minotaurs and what I thought of as ‘Blinded Girl’.

I made larger paintings in watercolours of blinded girl and also a clown figure that has been dominant in my visual vocabulary for many years.
Using glue and paper held together with wires, a small female form started to take shape. She entered the river, and waited around in the house for opportunities to shine.
I have come away with two distinct bodies of work, (Minotaur/blinded girl) and an idea for three oil paintings of fantastical landscapes, with mists, water and mountainous views.
Both Kate and I are hoping to return to possibly take part in a local exhibition, which I hope will be realised.