Something from Nothing - Dialogue with Hossein Valamanesh
HV I was in Switzerland in 2001 and we were flying a week or so after the twin towers incident and the horror there. We had a residency in Switerland for 3 months. When we got there, the world was in a nervous place. What's going on? What's going to happen? The first thing they worry about is their money. Swiss Air was nearly going to go broke. We arrived somehow and we settled in our studio. Everyday we were presented a German local newspaper, which we couldn't read but I'd sort of flip through and look at the photos. All the news was all about the markets, and Swiss being a place of money… they were really nervous. The market index was going crazy. And then of course we would look through the window and see the landscape of Switzerland. The beautiful and drastic landscape. The mountains. And then somehow I thought of superimposing the touristy images of Switzerland into the market. But somehow keeping the chaos there but also somehow ignoring the financial crisis. Nature will always be there. Even if the money goes up and down. I started collecting the papers for all the time I was there.
I started in 2002 painting the series, one for everyday. There's a group on Mondays, Fridays and so on. There's 12 in each set, all together is 60. I've nearly finished. Last year I've just started to come back and do the last 2 series.
In some ways aspects of travel appears in my work quite often. In subtle ways through collecting materials or referring to places. You're kinda like a sponge - you absorb bits of travel. I don't see my work as 'this is the latest idea'… and that's fine, it's okay for some artists to be fresh and new all the time. But I can see this work being seen again ten years time and hopefully it will resonate. Because I think my work is of my observation of the world rather than being art about art. You see quite a lot of artists, especially today, who are making art which looks impressive but leaves you cold. Then you read about the work and it's referring to this and that; which is all fine for those that are informed and those that can read the information… but where is the artist? Hopefully you can connect to the people through the work. You don't have to know who I am. They may like the texture of it. They may like the craftsmanship. They get some connection. I feel like I have to open a little door. You don't want to show everything.
CK It's like making space for them to come in.
HV That's right. It's a conservation. It's these thoughts I have, and sharing them with people.