The New Vanguard Artist Profil 1 – Alice Gibney
4SEE puts a spotlight on young artists from the international art scene whom we deeply admire for their explosive talent and limitless creativity. We respect them even more for their tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds of fame and success in the hypercompetitive artworld. Their incomparable ability to let us share in feelings, emotions, ideas, issues, and concepts that count make us want to take a second and third look at their work. But it is their genuine passion for their art that comes through when you speak with these heavyweights of the art world in Berlin and New York—two of the cultural capitals of the world.
This artist profile “New Vanguard” was for the ART issue // published in September 2017.
“For me the most important thing is to be authentic. Art that is made through honest exploration and personal interest will always be relevant to someone.”
Did you always know that you were going to be an artist?
At eight years old I wanted to be a veterinarian, but that was a short-lived dream. As soon as I realized I would have to actually operate on animals and put them down I did a quick re-evaluation of my life plans. Blood grossed me out. Then a couple years later I went to summer camp at the Toronto School of Art and so began the love affair.
Do you find the artworld cutthroat and competitive, or is it also supportive and community-minded, or something inbetween?
I think the artworld is what you make of it. It can be all of the above: competitive and cutthroat or supportive and community-minded… just depends on how you approach it and with whom you surround yourself.
What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?
Starting out from scratch in Berlin and carving out a life. It’s a weird and bittersweet moment when you go back to your hometown and realize ‘home’ is somewhere else now.
Does art always need to be relevant? Is there a place for aesthetic indulgence, or do politics come into play in your motivation?
For me the most important thing is to be authentic. Art that is made through honest exploration and personal interest will always be relevant to someone.
If not politics, then what are the key sources of inspiration for you?
Failure. Daydreaming. Absurdist literature and odd films. The general messiness of life. Leaving room for mistakes within my work allows for the narrative to take unexpected turns. That is where the real interest for me lies.
What is it like to live/work in Berlin?
Berlin has the best of both worlds- it’s busy and filled with all kinds of artists and musicians making work but there is also a slowness here. An expansiveness of space. You can take the Sbahn train for 10 mins and end up in a small forest.
What is next for you, an immediately upcoming project or chance to see your work?
I’m working on a new body of work that deals with the baggage and communication breakdowns that happened after moving to Germany told from the perspective of a cardboard box and my usual cast of characters. I will probably show it sometime next year.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your artwork and at what scale?
Well considering ten years ago I would never have said I would be living and working in Berlin, I don’t know where I’ll be or how my work will progress. That’s the best part of being an artist-—the unknown. But I do know I will still be trying to find answers to my hidden questions.