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.