In today’s interview, Portuguese contemporary artist Ludmila
Queirós talks about music in the visual arts, installation
and performance as her form of communication
and the solitude of writing a PhD.
For people who don’t know you: who are you and how did you get into art?
Before all I would like to thank Suboart Magazine for the opportunity to talk about me and my work. It’s a path you are opening to emerging artists in this very fast gripping and liquid Society.
What can I tell about me? Usually, I say I’m an amalgam of shadow and light, born into the arts within poetry and writing, then passing on to drawing and finally finding my voice and a way to communicate in photography, video & installation. My path of actually (seriously) entering the art world and considering myself an artist started only in 2008, with photography. Before, my life was about technology (and luckily it was so, because it still remains present in my work), I have a Degree in Information Systems Management– After that, I found photography and studied with several artists whom I much admire and after a while I felt the need to learn more and to dedicate more time, and so I did my Masters in Contemporary Artist Creation. Right now, I’m doing a PhD in Contemporary Art- studying is one of my biggest passions. Since 2008, I’ve had several national (Portugal) and international exhibitions (both collective and individual) and presentations and talks.
All my work contains much of poetry and music, I think I write with images and videos. The light that surrounds me is full of synaesthesia.
Tell us more about your work, what are your themes/ interests and forms of expression?
I suppose my work takes place in a threshold of the arts and the senses, or at least that’s where I want it to be… a place that is metaphorical a skin: permeable and the frontier of the inside and the outside. I experiment with the possibilities of perception in that interstice, creating the possibility of reinventing the world that surrounds us and is inside of us, too. I try to create spaces of immersion for the senses where with the aid of technology, it’s possible for the spectator to become a part of the creation when interacting with the work. But in the end, as the Brazilian poet Manoel de Barros says: “Over nothing I have depths”. So, I just create the possibility of something, an idea, a sensation, a strangeness that could become a reconfigured path of thinking.
Also, much of my work speaks about women and the topics related to us. How nowadays it’s still very different and hard to be a woman and what that means from my perspective.
I try to raise questions by making the interpretation of my work very subjective.
I believe that a woman still doesn’t have a “room of her own” like Virginia Wolf says, a place to have the independence to be who she wants to be and who she has the right to be.
Many of your works are audio-visual installations. How did you get into this form of expression & what does it offer you from an artistic point of view?
I truly believe that music and sound are the freest forms of artistic expression, it’s their invisibility that gives us the possibility to create our mental connections with it, in a recombined “world” of what we are hearing. Schopenhauer says that music is pure essence, Wagner, having developed the “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total work of art), where he wanted all the arts to be represented in the Opera, also gave most of the importance to the music, but allied it with the others art forms. I don’t think that music is the most important of all arts, or the most precious… or even that (like Schopenhauer thought) music can’t be influenced by the other arts and just be the influencer. Instead, I believe that the space between the threshold of the arts is the most precious place for creativity.
Tell us more about your piece Visual Recital: Listening with the eyes
The installation/performance Visual Recital: Listening with the eyes was my final project within my Masters, and it was the result of years of studying the state of the art of sound and visual transposition and reinterpretation. Finally, I developed a performance that was simultaneously an installation and that used physics computation to create the possibility of reinterpreting a recital using the idea of synaesthesia. I was on a stage using an instrument that instead of producing sound, produced images (five pre-conceived visual compositions), and each note of the instrument (that resembles a Kantele) was an image in each piece. In the final piece, instead of playing the instrument, I played a “Women Instrument” (a real woman collaborating with me) who had sensors like the instrument.
Each composition had three components: harmony, rhythm and melody – three sets of images being projected in the space as I performed the instrument. The overall idea was to approach the space where one type of art can be felt as another. A space that accommodates something that is presented as a space for music but is actually a visual display, an installation with performance.
You have a deep passion for music and image (photography and video). How do you think images influence our daily lives, our upbringing, our whole being?
Besides being truly passionate about music and image (and other arts also: literature, poetry, cinema, theater, dance, etc.) I think that we are too connected to a type of virtual living in the world through social media.
We don’t see the world – we see the shadows, the pictures of the world, like the people in Plato’s cavern saw the world through the shadows of it.
I have done a work, composed of four pieces, that speaks about it, the name is: Land without shadow (Terra sem sombra). You can also see it on my website. also can be seen in my website. I’ call out ‘d like to particularly call out one of the four pieces: Ceridween a video/ installation about how and what we search continuously in each other’s life. (click here to visit).
Our “liquid society”, quoting Zygmunt Bauman, is becoming more liquid everyday… probably we will become a new being that is half tech and half human… and become all connected through an enormous web, a mammoth web.