Kisito Assangni (K.S.)-Do you have any thoughts on whether that’s a responsibility of artists, reflecting our time is important within the political context?
Regina Huebner (R.H.) - Everything which becomes public is also politic and the interpretation of an artwork depends on the changing entities of social context, geographic space and history.
The responsibility of an artist is that one, to be original, sincere and truthful. If so, his or her work can aim at playing a role in social life. The importance is given by the receiver and the higher value will be given by time.
K.S. - What is your main interest as artist? What form of self-consciousness is applicable to the art-making?
R.H. - I see myself as an individual standing on her own. Just the shape of our body, with a front-side and a back-side, confirms the fact that we are made to be connected to others. Human destiny as well as mine is to be related to others, and I understand myself in what is not me, if I am able to be also that what I am not. Empathy is basic for that, movement and uncertainty come beside. I long for responses and certitudes, I would like to know the right answers.
As an artist, visual forms are my language. I get inspiration from personal experiences and their opposite points of view. If I find the visual form for that, it is as if I got a possible answer to my questions.
It makes me deeply happy, if the observer becomes affected by finding that image relevant also for his or her questions in life. It means that my autobiographical approach has a wider meaning and is connected to a universal value. It confirms the fact that the individual being is not alone on earth. To belong to the human species is a hope for me.
K.S. - Do you feel that it’s important to convey your own beliefs and opinions within your art? Is there a philosophical element in your work?
R.H - Of course, by creating an artwork it is basic to be authentic, as well it is basic to be so in life. I do not make difference between being a person, a woman living in a certain time at a certain place, related to certain other persons and being an artist. I do not make difference between my life and an artistic act.
As I said before, my artworks are based on a single, short existence but related to the whole development of nature. Throughout the visual form, I communicate those apparently little parts of life, which are – transposed — fundamental questions mankind has faced since ever. Philosophy, as well as religion, explores and tries to order those experiences and questions. Mine is a conceptual approach. For example, daily-life gestures executed as conscious acts can become rituals with sacred meaning. Gestures may change status.
K.S. - What are you currently working on? Is there anything in particular that you’d like to get across through your work?
R.H. - On October 6, 2018, I will have a solo-event at the Nuit Blanche Paris 2018 with a site-specific video and audio setting of loving on the giant main dome of Église du Saint-Esprit, a complex architectural structure paragoned with the Hagia Sophia Basilica of Istanbul. loving, which shows the course of two half-moons, will suggest a celestial vault with a particular moon watching us from above. In this image the observer could recognize him or herself as it is contextualized by video and digital art expert Gabriel Soucheyre in his text Take me to the moon (I'll see who I am) for that setting.
From October to January 2019, my solo exhibition me and you – May I tell you something personal? in my birth town Villach, in Austria, will show an anthological part with video and photographic works from the last 20 years and a new presentation with video, objects and a performative act. The exhibition is curated by The City of Villach, the texts are by curator Claudia Schauß and art historian Elisabeth Gülli. It is about the exchange of information between subject and object on human level and the relationship between the moving image of a video and the not-moving image of one of its video-still-images or photographies.
In November 2018, a video- and an audio-work will be shown at the Kuryokhin Modern Art Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, within the program curated by Gabriel Soucheyre/VIDEOFORMES for the International Video Art Festival VIDEOFORMA.
In March 2019 the single channel video loving - which you know very well, dear Kisito, as you brought it with your international video program TIME is Love.10 in 2017 through the world, from the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe in Germany to the Addis Video Art Festival in Ethiopia -, will be exhibited at the International Video and Digital Arts Festival VIDEOFORMES in Clermont-Ferrand, France.
In 2019, I will be Guest Researcher at IMéRA - Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées in Marseille, France, to realize my interdisciplinary project of art and hard science Perception of Self and Nonself in Life, in special collaboration with the CIML Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy.
The indissoluble interconnection of what I am and what I am not, the relationship, the communication and the course of time are themes of those exhibitions and projects and I consider them as red lines in my whole activity.
K.S. - What place does creativity have in education? Do you view yourself as a creator?
R.H. - Creativity is an innate and fundamental ability which is provided to every human being. It guarantees the evolution of life and it allows the upcoming life of humans. Education is important for being conscious of it and being able to use it.
Just living means to be a creator. My artworks are visual pieces of my life. To be able to express that creativity is wonderful and I am very grateful for that.
K.S. - Do you think that by challenging conventional views, art can truly make a change in the public’s perception?
R.H. - Image, word and sound are material vehicles of concepts. Their perception depends on social, historical and geographical context and on the approachability of the receiver. “… to perceive, to accept the message, there must be a free landing-place. only at that point the receiver will decide about the need and the potential use of that message. … “ are the words of art historian and scientific author Arnulf Rohsmann in his text regina hübner/ogni pensiero vola, for my symposium The author separates from his creation, in which I was questioning: what happens when author and his product separate?
K.A. - How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
R.H. - Once, it was not necessary for me to transform the concept into a visual form, the artwork. At that moment, I had elaborated the idea it was complete for me. I talked about this with the Italian philosopher Carlo Sini, who answered among other considerations, that art needs its image to be considered art. It took time for me to interiorize that fact.
Now, I am much more empathic with my creations. I think, they have the right to come out of my mind, to get a body, to be born, and to be seen. I try to do my best to fulfil their public destiny. This approach led from an absorbing-status of my earlier times to the actual status in which the single artwork comes out already with its own context and relationship to persons, situations and spaces.
Time and ongoing processes are important themes in my whole oeuvre. Their inversion is a utopic hope, which could mean eternity and shows that I don’t see time as linear and directed.
This is why I know what I am now and what I was and I know, what I would like to do. Actually, the evolution is absolutely unimaginable for me.
K.S. - Is sophistication, aesthetic accomplishment in the eye of the beholder?
R.H. - The object of interest sends its signals which will attract or reject the observer. Our eyes belong to our body and their ability in capturing the whole and the detail make the observer’s observation even more subjective. Capacity of sophistication and aesthetic accomplishment mean to be able to evaluate and are related to what I said on point 6. I would add the perspective of the object as artwork or message, we called it before. There is an inner desire to be accepted by the observer or receiver. Life is easier and we are happier, when we understand each other.
I am interested in the quality of subjectivity which is in the exchange and in the perception of information between subject and object and vice-versa. That subjectivity is strongly influenced, among other factors, by love, eroticism and sexual attraction. Those elements are, on one hand, the most powerful guarantee for human’s continuity of life, as the feeling to unify with the other stands under something which is more than free will and seems to belong to natural law. On the other hand, those feelings can disappear from one moment to the other, even if they have been lived and perceived as eternal just a moment before. We are able to sublimate that in art.
K.A. - What do you think is the social role of art? How would you like to be remembered?
R.H. - Art comes out from life and its social role is to be part of life.
My genome will continue to exist in my two daughters and I believe, that life on earth will never be extinguished. In my heart I hope to be remembered by the emotions I and my artworks gave and hopefully will continue to give. This provokes a sense of immortality and, of course, I would like to be never forgotten. But only being part of universal life, which annihilates the single individual, guarantees a never ending existence. Not easy to accept.
My epitaph will be: Eine Zeit in der Zeit (A Time in Time).
K.A. - How does art school form ideas about art? Does it shape people into being certain types of artists?
R.H. - The concept which stands behind a work is important. The medium depends on contemporary facts. Art schools transmit knowledge about art concepts, techniques and history, which I consider information and further, the base of cultural consciousness.
The individual interpretation by the art-teacher makes the thematic precious and at the same time susceptible. His responsibility is to open the student’s eyes. The student’s responsibility is to find his or her original way. It belongs to the individual to use the freedom we all have.
Personally, I learned from the confrontation and I still learn and understand when I put myself in relationship to the ideas of other persons. On several occasions, this led to common artworks realized together with creators in arts and science and with whom I have had and still have long-time friendships. In wider projects, as Anonymus dedicated to Vally or connecting times, the work itself is based on the contribution of the so-called Protagonists, so, the thoughts and experiences of other persons. Thanks to those works I got an important conceptual enrichment and I would call those works my very special schools.
K.A. - What do you think about the art world and art market? Do you accept that art is inherently an elitist activity?
R.H. - It is a privilege to create art and it is a privilege to buy art. Art is an elitist activity.
K.A. - What’s the last great book you read? Any other thoughts/projects to share?
R.H. - I just bought Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari which I was recommended by a good friend and I think, it will be an interesting book for me. I have been reading and reading again, for years, De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things) by roman poet and philosopher Lucretius. To both I feel connected, because of my interest in knowing nature and human development.
In the next future, I will realize collaborative experimentations and I am looking forward on my work at the institute IMéERA in Marseille, which will bring untouched elements in my art and in my life.
Thank you, Kisito Assangni, for this interview!
Regina Hübner, August 2018.
Interview for “The Aestheticized Interview” by Kisito Assangni published in ArtDependence Magazine.
Kisito Assangni is a Togolese-French curator, consultant and producer who studied museology. Currently living between London and Paris, his research focuses primarily on psycho-geography and the cultural impact of globalisation. He investigates the modes of cultural production that combine theory and practice. His projects have been shown internationally, including the ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe (Germany); Whitechapel Gallery, London; Centre of Contemporary Art, Glasgow; Malmo Konsthall, Malmo (Sweden); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow; Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles among others. Kisito is the Founder/Curator of Time is Love Screening – International video art program - and [SFIP] Project - Still Fighting Ignorance & Intellectual Perfidy (Platform for critical thinking, researching and presenting video art from Africa).