Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Art Space Talk: Carina Traberg

Carina Traberg was born in Denmark in 1978. She began her BA education in 1999 at The Funen Academy of Fine Art where she studied for five years under the tutelage of professors Jesper Christiansen and Anette Abrahamson. In 2002 Traberg undertook an independent study period in Istanbul where she was heavily inspired by the modern architecture and culture and achieved two solo exhibitions. For this she was awarded the Carlsberg 2002 travel grant. After graduating in 2004, Traberg worked in Aarhus where she was accepted into the 2005 censored Easter Exhibition. Her works was well received and offers for further exhibitions were taken up. Since 2005 she has been based in London where she participated in several shows and art fairs and has received commissions for private collectors in England and Poland. In 2006 Traberg completed a Postgraduate Diploma at Chelsea College of Art and Design.

Cityscape installation, Photos on cardboard, various sizes, 2003-4

Brian Sherwin: Carina, can you tell us about your youth? Can you recall some of your first experiences with visual art and how they helped you on the path you are on today?

Carina Traberg: I have always made things since I was very young. It was always some object that had a function, like a machine that little balls would move through, a skateboard or a pillow that had ears. And I always had some plan for something that I wanted to make, which I found very exiting. That hasn’t changed for me.

BS: Carina, you studied at The Funen Academy of Fine Art for five years... who were your mentors during that time?

CT: For the first two years I had a brilliant professor who is a Danish Painter, Jesper Christiansen. He’d come round to the studio space every two weeks and look at the work and had a very subtle and humorous way of teaching. I have figured out that he actually knew what was going on and could see a direction, in which the work was going, but would only give little hints and let his students figure everything out themselves. He also really impressed me by that fact that he spent five years painting white chairs on white canvas.

Changing House, Acrylic on canvas, 40x45 cm, 2007

BS: Carina, in 2002 you undertook an independent study period in Istanbul. Can you tell us about your experience there? What mark did Istanbul leave on you, so to speak?

CT: I went to Istanbul and fell in love, basically. So I moved there to be with my partner and set myself up in a lovely studio, where I enjoyed being able to be away from college. I began painting completely different paintings, influenced by the city, the colours and light, and the change of lifestyle. It all sounds very romantic, and it was.

BS: Carina, your practice is primarily based on painting. However, your work does not deal with the essence of painting, but rather with the conceptual matter and the use of material. Can you tell us more about your painting practice and the thoughts behind it?

CT: I have never been particularly interested in "real" paintings, the textures and gestures of it. I enjoy painting and I use it as a medium to create images. I always use masking tape to mark of a field before I begin to paint it to create a flat hard-edged surface. I like making the paint look as flat as possible mostly to contrast the strong perspectives that I often use. Sometimes I paint with other materials than paint, like cardboard or electrical tape, not as shortcuts but to give other surfaces to the work.

Industrial Space 1, Acrylic on canvas, 110x130 cm, 2002

BS: Carina, what artists have inspired you?

CT: Inspiration for ideas and new work often come to me when I am away from an art context and in general I am more inspired by other things and situations. I like to visit big cities and always feel refreshed and full of ideas coming back from one. But to mention some artists whose work I admire; Julian Opie, Sarah Morris, Mondrian, Thomas Demand and Ugo Rondinone.

BS: Carina, I understand that you are also a musician. How does your music relate to your visual art? Are they linked?

CT: I have recently discovered music making as basically a new medium, that I really enjoy. I see my music as an integral part of my practice and it has helped me open up some aspects of my approach to painting. I have also found that this music art is much more functional than a painting can be. I can listen to my music anywhere and whilst doing other things, and to round everything off, I even listen to it when I paint.

Windows, Acrylic on canvas, 40x45 cm, 2007

BS: Can you go into further detail about your personal philosophy on art?

CT: I like creating another world with my art, both when I make it and for the viewer to enter. The art that I look at is art that alter the world and not just imitate or replicate it.

BS: Carina, why do you prefer to work in series?

CT: When I have an idea and begin a new subject or thought, I never feel satisfied with making just the one piece of work. I don’t think that it gives a full picture or exploration of the subject and I am always interested in seeing what happens if I try again.

Industrial Space 3, Acrylic on canvas, 110x130 cm, 2002

BS: Carina, what group exhibitions have you been involved with?

CT: The most interesting group show that I did was just after finishing my Postgraduate Diploma in London last year, where everyone turned up with a piece of work that had to be installed into a context that the curators wanted to be different to a normal group show. So we all spent five days building an independent structure out of scrap wood in the space to connect the works. We were not allowed to use the walls, so we had to rethink ways of displaying the work. I ended up making a box for my painting so that it could only be seen through small slits.

BS: Carina, tell us about your studio. Where do you work? Do you follow a routine or do you work in a sporadic manner? Tell us about your studio practice.

CT: I have a studio now in East London, which is a open plan place with other people around. I don’t have a set way or method of working and I don’t go everyday if I don’t know what I am going to do there. At the moment I am very antisocial when I work, I have my headphones on and enjoy being lost to the world.

BS: Finally, what are your goals as an artist? What do you hope to accomplish?

CT: I try to take it one step at a time in terms of exhibitions. I would like to be able to continue to have fun and enjoy making my work, which I really am at the moment.
You can learn more about Carina Traberg and her art by visiting the following page-- www.carinatraberg.blogspot.com. You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page-- www.myartspace.com/interviews.
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin

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