Anita Somrová is a Brno based artist, curator, and the real beige diva of yeezy universe. We talk about escape as reflected in her artwork as well as her work space, and the struggle of being a progressive female artist on the local art scene.
Hey Anita! What do you escape from most often?
Haha, I have to say I am addicted to TV series, so from real life? I should work on that and escape to something else, maybe to some philosophical theories. Maybe escape means trying to touch the real, to touch a dream?
© Anita Somrová: ‘The Touch’, online zine, 2016
“It is a kind of an escape to beige and back to 2k15. It is delicate. Body, touch, artificiality ending in dissolution. It also reflects the internet as an endless archive.”
That’s an interesting point of view. Usually, “escape” tends to carry rather negative connotations. Do you think escaping is bad?
Do you mean escape from real life to alternative worlds?
I’m thinking probably escape in that sense that you somehow jump from something to another thing as a form of dealing.
Oh, of course, the best way is to make a problem invisible. But I do not see escape as a bad thing. I think escapism is forever.
What is your favourite manner of escapism? Is your art in a way some kind of escape for you?
Currently I escape into the world of beige and the world of the imperfect angel Mariah Carey. I think you can see the theme of escape in everything that I have done. Be it a turn to fairy tale symbolism, post-apocalyptic situation, gypsy nomadic style, spa life, desert island, pointless fight against a system or a beautiful world of pop culture, a world where you are a butterfly. But it is of course about the aesthetics as well.
What do you find in these worlds and aesthetics that you escape to? Are you looking for something or do you just immerse yourself in them?
It’s not just about escapism but also about a mirror… and I find there the truth, beauty, and nothing at the same time. Immersion is such a perfect sense of that.
Besides being an artist, you also currently manage two galleries – your own display-window gallery makemake in Brno and Jamborův dům Gallery in Tišnov. How did this extension from an artist to a curator/artist come about?
I tend to put something on stage, doesn’t matter if it’s a theatre play or an exhibition, so it was more like an urge. Of course it’s also an alternative to other galleries, but then again, what can you do after art school?
Haha, right. Anyways, I think it’s pretty rad to pursue one’s own project vision right away. makemake certainly has a strong genius loci which is even reinforced by the artists that you invite to exhibit there. Do you have a curatorial project or is it more about intuition and feeling?
I don’t think I am a curator, really. makemake is more about relationships, my own desires, or coincidence. And I think it’s pure… The interesting thing is that many of the recent artists are from the studio of body design. Body is something that interests me a lot now. Bodies and clothes. I certainly do not have a plan, things just come. I am super happy that Marek Lužný, whom I know and admire only from Facebook, will soon have an exhibition there with Martina Růžičková.
© Anita Somrová, 2014; source
Wow, excited for that! Looking at the past and recent exhibitions in makemake, it is apparent that you support unconventional, progressive artists and a lot of the artwork exhibited there deals to a certain degree with nonconformist notions of sex, gender, and sexuality. Do you see yourself as a kind of an activist curator in that sense?
I always say that I love—and grew up in—queer world (besides the pop culture and Nirvana, of course), so maybe that’s an answer… but yes, I would like to be that kind of an activist person. And FREE WEED!! “Everybody get stoned and make love” kinda world.
Since this spring, you also work as a curator at GJD in Tišnov, an institution which is deeply entrenched in the conventional gallery running of the previous decades. What is it like, trying to escape from this stiff system?
First of all, it’s a job, so it’s not so pure like makemake and I need to think local. This gallery does not have a great history, it was so tacky. I started to clean the space, and the last artist Martin Zet purified it to a zen heaven. To do, or not to do compromises in art? That is the question. I am an idealist.
Being an alternative female curator/artist promoting contemporary art seems to be quite a challenge. Do you feel challenged?
BITCH, I AM NOT ALTERNATIVE I AM A FUCKING PRINCESS
– Yes, I do feel very challenged.
Last question: If you could escape right now with a snap of a finger where would it be?
That’s clear – a world where reincarnation of Pablo Picasso, Kanye West, is a president of the United States of America.
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