in conversation with marie edith renate
Interviewed by Niamh Quigley
Marie is a fashion and textile designer who found herself removed from the constantly changing and mindless industry during lockdown. Slowing down in isolation allowed her to assess overconsumption and false desires, allowing her to create work that derived from pleasure rather than monetisation. Here is a conversation between artist Marie edith renate and Niamh Quigley uncovering the effects of the pandemic on her creative process and opinions.
Can you offer some insight of the process between the stages of finding the objects and then presenting them?
Honestly, everything comes down to intuition - seeing abandoned pieces / trash in the streets, choosing the ones that I can imagine to mould into something new - sometimes they’ll sit in my studio for a long time until the right idea comes to me, other times I know what to make with it immediately.
I always carry a notebook with me to write down ideas - i sketch rarely, i rather write about my vision and then come back to it later; rethink, reevaluate and when it feels right, i’m starting to create it.
Is the process one of arbitrary chance or is there an element of careful selection?
It’s rather arbitrary, I don’t pressure myself into doing something; when I have an idea, I try to realise it (sooner or later - sometimes another material is missing that i think would tie it together; so whenever the idea doesn’t feel developed enough, it will wait in my notebook until it does) - inspiration also always crosses my path by chance, I don't actually look for it.
What draws you to those objects In particular? Do you see them as artefacts?
Tthat’s also intuition for me - whenever I feel like I could work with them; sometimes it's the materiality, if it's easy to work with, sometimes it's the shape itself, which I can use as a framework... when I look at it, I just know somehow.
Did you intend on creating work that illustrated such themes or did the concept take form once you physically saw the objects?
I’d say that differs a lot - sometimes when I see an object I immediately have an idea what to create with it later, sometimes I don’t, and often I have ideas but not the right material for it yet. But it usually comes back to a rough theme, which is always quite colourful and abstract, with organic shapes and a bit of an ironic representation of what the piece was made of - trash.
Is the theme that you have chosen to depict one which will become present in your future works?
I definitely think so. I like to create intuitively, without a lot of limitations and rules, and for me I can do that best when creating abstract pieces. I am a very introverted person and don’t usually show what’s going on inside or what I am drawn towards - which is a lot of colours, weird shapes, experiments and the unexpected - in my sculptures i can do that without pressure and toning anything down.
Also for the materiality - using what’s already available and has been discarded will always be the frame i’ll work in - my personal values seep into every aspect of my life, and being as sustainable as possible when creating something is really essential to me.
Having shed light into the issues of capitalism, do you feel as an artist that you have a duty to consume alternatively and thus create alternatively?
I don’t think i have the duty as an artist specifically, but as a person. and as a person, I try to consume and create alternatively whenever i have the option to, and creating objects / making art is a part of that.
How has this work impacted you personally? Has it altered your own perception of consumption?
I’d say I have become a lot more aware of how much rubbish mankind actually produces and, above all, doesn’t really think beyond consumption - when it has had its day, it’s thrown away - that’s it. It might have made me more angry, realising this haha. I'm definitely more considerate when buying things now, and reevaluate my own consumption behaviour often.
however, using found objects as material for creating art has definitely made me more confident as a means of personal expression and experimenting, but also in the hope that it will make others realise that there really are other options than discarding things that are no longer needed in the first place.
Your work is carefully crafted to portray the issues of capitalist consumption, has this altered how you see other artists work?
A bit but also not really. I still appreciate the art that speaks to me, but I appreciate it even more when there was a thought about reusing materials and maybe even educating others through holding up a mirror to society’s (and maybe one’s own) consumption behaviour and the capitalist system that destroys our planet.
Do you think all artists have a responsibility to address the issues that face our contemporary society?
That’s a really polemic question which i think everyone must decide for themselves - for me it’s not a question to live and work as sustainably as I can and of course I like to see others do the same. However, for others their art might be out of the equation and that’s fine, too. For me, art isn’t solely for educational purposes but primarily a form of expression and if one desires to address the issues of our contemporary society, that’s very honourable and important - but i don’t think that should be the only reason to create.