From Joana BC at the end of her residency

21.03.2012 - 08.05.2012

I’m working in the studio, making just one more creature made of materials I found during my walks in Trélex, and I can hear the wind outside. 

That wind is not alone though. I can hear the cow bells ringing and, wow, they are noisy. When that happens I know it’s going to be a good day because all the animals are going to be out in the fields. 

The desire for freedom and adventure pushes me to the mountains and makes me wish to turn myself into a bird. The Montblanc is the great God. I worship it every time I come down the hill.

From where I stand this house looks perfect. But it’s when the floor creaks under my feet and the wind is blowing very hard outside that I feel my blood running faster. This house could be gloomy and scary but it’s just welcoming and gentle.

The studio is a big space with wood beams and an amazing view to the mountains but I’m interested in the little wooden house in the garden. The white of the studio doesn’t suit my imaginary. And one day Nina said: “If you like, you could think of using the little playhouse in the garden.” And that made my  residency into something really amazing and fulfilling.

I don’t like to be inside the studio and see the green grass outside and so I take my notebook outside and I write. It’s funny how pieces come together sometimes. I started writing a short story about a rather curious goat and the next day I found out the neighbour had goats. I went there a couple of times alone to see how they act. I was able to finish it before the end of the residency which turned out to be a major achievement for me.

During one of my walks through the fields I listened to Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song” and thanks to it my ideas for installing my work at the house started to make sense. There’s something very crucial about the residency that was really important for me: this is a family house. My work deals with notions of domesticity, and family and interpersonal relations. At the same time I’m part of it and I’m an observer, witnessing how relationships are weaved and maintained.

The Trélex Residency is Nina’s fourth baby and she takes good care of it. She is a generous and kind person who can be critical and very down to earth for your own good. She is very skilled in helping you find your potential and take it further. It’s true that she studied the human brain for such a long time but there’s something more to it. I didn’t get any therapeutic lesson but good dialogue, real life examples, honesty and dedication.

And then of course it was really good I had Hira by my side with her lively laugh, her long conversations, her questions and her spicy and amazing food. I think about chillies now more than I used to, that’s for sure.

I have two loves in Switzerland: La Collection d’art brut in Lausanne (website here) and L’Espace Jean Tingely and Niki de Saint Phalle in Fribourg (website here). I’ve been interested in Art Brut (Outsider Art) for a couple of years due to my belief in a spontaneous and intuitive way of making Art. La Collection is not a museum, it’s an anti-museum and it’s a house of stories, where accounts of the outsider’s lives are mixed with their “artistic practices”. It is a temple.

And what can I say about Niki and Jean? They’re my favourites. They remained outsiders in their own way. It’s a love story that overwhelms me. It impresses me how they managed to collaborate and still keep such individual work, such strong personal characteristics. How one’s work speaks lower when the other’s needs to speak louder and how it all comes together as a scream of rage and peace at the same time. I admire their differences and duality and their reaction to Art and society. They were free and somehow managed to continue like that until they died, I believe. Their death was connected to their way of working. I like to think that what consumed them was what killed them but also what set them free and made them feel more alive.
Joana BC

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