Saturday, 24 August 2013

5 Questions With... Artist Chanelle Collier

Chanelle Collier with the installation from Unique State at Mils Gallery 2013.. Courtesy of The Sydney Standard

What I love about your work is how it explores nostalgia, in particular how we attach this nostalgia to objects - how did you become interested in this theme?

My approach to the work is pretty intuitive in so far as the "what" part goes (the "how" part is clearly much more calculated) but when I first started doing this I noticed the intuitive part of the process and couldn’t help but wonder where it came from. Because the desire to work with one object over another is always very clear to me. And so far I think that has something to do with nostalgia. A theme which to me becomes more interesting the more I notice what other objects, aesthetics etc others (particularly other artists) are drawn to or cannot part with (regardless of their uselessness) due to this inextricable connection. 
Chanelle Collier, Forgotten Room, an installation for the 2013 Sydney Writers' Festival.

Chanelle Collier, Place of Worship, 2012 paper glass wood 26x18x4cm.

Chanelle Collier, Mondriaan and Psyche, 2013 paper glass wood 24x19x6cm.

At your recent show at Mils Gallery you carved out hardcover books and created these amazing miniatures - what is the process involved and just how long does it take to create?

I find the books and choose the compositions intuitively- it's either there or it isn't. Then figure out how I’m going to do it. Mostly. None of the books are glued shut which limits what I can do - but it is well worth working around as the incidental compositions that happen on each page are one of the best bits. After I’ve worked out a plan I sit down and cut for ages with a scalpel, by hand. I put glass in the cover, build the drawer plinth (my partner Joe helps me with this if I'm lucky) and prepare the page remnants. It takes about 4 weeks, not including finding the book or making the print. The prints are very important to me. They are linked to the process of each sculpture and depict each composition on each page in one image. All of the things that happen incidentally.

Chanelle Collier, Blackwells Mountaineering Library 2013 paper glass wood 21x14x11cm.

Chanelle Collier, Italian Alps detail 2012 paper glass wood 14x21x3cm.

When the whole world seems to be going online, why do you think there is a growing nostalgia towards print and written materials?

I think it's because we have slowly surrounded ourselves with mass produced plastic crap made by a machine with no soul. At some point enough is enough. and a desire for the tactile warmth of something hand crafted or gently familiar inevitably arises. Also, books smell better than laptops.

Where does your inspiration come from?

The object itself mainly informs the work. I am also often inspired to work by my fellow artists. I am very lucky to have heaps of excellent brains making things around me. I hope to collaborate with some of these next.

Describe your work in 5 words.

(or less?) hand cut book sculpture

All images supplied by the artist.

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