Tell us about yourself and your work.
I started painting at the age of 15, when I got my grandfathers self-made easel. Together with the easel came some oil colors that my grandfather had worked with and two small canvasses he had stretched. On one of them he had started painting a landscape; the other was blank. I don’t remember clearly what I painted on those canvasses but I do know that I never really stopped painting since then. That is, until I finished art school.
I got my BFA and MFA at Minerva art academy in Groningen and I graduated in 2012. I took part in an exchange program that allowed me to study at Ohio State University for one semester in 2009. When I arrived there, I was quite convinced about my painting but halfway my stay something changed and I didn’t believe in myself as a painter anymore. I developed a love-hate relationship with painting since then and I guess that since my graduation, the ‘hate’-part has prevailed.
I’d always been working with different media alongside painting, varying from photography, drawing and installations with living plants. Next to that, there’s often been a strong textual element in my work. With that I mean, that I have been using my own writings as a visual element in my work, but I also presented writings to accompany a painting for example. Later on, conversations with visitors came to be part of my work (with the plant-installations) or a recitation or lecture-performance to accompany an installation. Thematically, there’s always been a strong focus on landscape experience and (green) urbanism in relation to individualism and identity. I found painting too limited to address the topics I’m interested in and I constantly felt the history of landscape painting pressing upon my work, which I sometimes thankfully used, but at other times wanted to get away from.
Where does the inspiration come from?
Inspiration is a confusion term I find. I get my ideas from the fuzzy incoherent inputs I encounter in life, in books, in the newspaper, from conversations and other artworks. Thematically, there’s a strong focus on landscape experience but I don’t necessarily draw my inspiration from landscape. It’s something I research by reading about it or by attending lectures on historical geography for example. The theoretics keep on stirring in my mind together with previous works that I’ve made and all kinds of other stuff I’ve been thinking about. However, it’s often after seeing a theatre play or reading a novel for example that things unexpectedly come together in my mind and I know what it is that I want to do. I will suddenly get a very vivid image in my mind after weeks or months of reading and thinking. This could also happen on a train ride or just one morning when I wake up.
Which is the need of your art?
My art is, just all art, without a specific clear function. With my plant works I do feel the urge to make viewers aware of the possibilities of hydroponics and vertical farming and have people think about technical developments and innovation as something that can be beneficial for our health and surroundings. I’d like people to be aware of how they perceive their surroundings and to think about nature, culture and landscape as terms that are interwoven and are going through a change of meaning. Which means that we have to renew the way we define nature and landscape (The way we define landscape has already gone through several changes throughout the years and now it’s time that this also happens with how we define nature). These are things I think about and that play a role in my work. However there’s also often a more personal layer in order to touch upon people’s emotions. Elements of recognition maybe, to connect with each other without ever meeting, simply because we recognize something of ourselves in a piece, are drawn to the same things. I’d like to connect to people, share thoughts and stories. We all need stories to give meaning to our lives.
Tell us about your experiences in art fairs, exhibitions and others.
I haven’t participated in many shows but the things I have done are quite diverse. My latest project was an artist-in-residence for Oddstream in Nijmegen last September, where I collaborated with a sound artist. The presentation of the work was during a lecture evening, so that was kind of different from what I’d usually done. Before that I participated in several group shows in Groningen, mainly with paintings and drawing. I once did a temporary sight-specific work on the glass window of an exhibition space. My work went to one art fair a couple years back, but I wasn’t really involved in that myself. Art Olive in Amsterdam took care of everything. I guess I enjoy festivals more then art fairs. Anyway, I enjoy the variety of presentation options. I’ve done a workshop for kids at Jan Cunen Museum in Oss for example, with one of my plant installations. And another time, at the night of Art and science in Groningen, I presented a plant-cabinet at an indoor camping place that was designed for the festival. At that same festival I also presented a figurative oil painting at a different location and for me as an artist with different bodies of work, it was especially nice to see these things come together like that.
What does it means the art for you?
What does art mean to me? I don’t know. Or at least, I don’t believe it can really be put into words. Art is something I enjoy in different ways for different reasons at different times and I different contexts. It allows me to lead a life that feels meaningful to me because it enables me to gain a deeper insight in and understanding of culture, in people; in the way we lead our lives.
What do you think about the art system in your country?
I understand little of how the ‘art system’ works. I don’t think there really is a clear system because art cannot be put in any system. Of course I am happy that I have had the opportunity to go to art school without a lot of trouble. I had to take a loan but the education is subsidized and affordable. I especially like that I got the opportunity to study with people from different backgrounds and countries and I’m happy to see that there are still possibilities for artists and art institutions to receive funding. But of course it’s sad to see the enormous budget cuts that have been executed here in the past couple of years and it’s painful to see how more and more organizations and institutions have to close their doors. For me it’s been impossible to dedicate all my time to art because there’s little money available and I also need to pay the rent. But I don’t know if I can blame that on the art system. The one thing I do quite dislike is the idea that these days, all artists have to be so-called cultural entrepreneurs. It’s good that there are such people and it’s good for some, but it’s not for me and it’s also not really beneficial for the quality of art I believe.
What is the future of art?
I don’t know. Maybe will have something like impulses into our bodies and brains through radio waves and magnetic fields while walking on Mars or floating in outer space…
Friday, October 23, 2015
Lotte Milene Bosman (Oss, 1987)
Lives and works in Den Haag, The Netherland