Friday, June 8, 2012

When Challenged

all images ©Nina Katchadourian

 In her show, Seat Assignment:  Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style, artist Nina Katchadourian takes advantage of available materials, a hand-held camera phone, and the time afforded by long 14-hour international flights that have the rest of us watching back to back romantic comedies and reruns of Curb Your Enthusiasm.  

In the catalog essay for her 2011 exhibit at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Katchadourian asks the creative questions that inspired her to create this spontaneous, yet thoughtful, collection:

"I often make art motivated by the mundane, but Seat Assignment has become a vehicle for me to put many of my deeply-held premises to the test. Is there always more than meets the eye? Is there really something to make out of nothing? Is it truly a matter of paying attention, of staying alert and optimistic about the potential that something interesting could evolve when challenged by boredom? Furthermore, what are the limits of my ability to think on my feet (or from my seat)? When will my creativity hit a wall, either from physical and mental fatigue, or simply because I can't care any more at that moment? How far will my own sense of decorum allow me to go in a public situation?"

 Nina created a large part of her exhibit while en route to the gallery, a feat that I find to be incredibly inspiring for my own experiences with catching creativity in the briefest of moments throughout the week.  I'm carrying this around in my head as a reminder that the artistic process exists in every aspect of our day, not just the ones that we intentionally dedicate to creation.  For me, It's so helpful to be reminded that creativity requires one to stay awake, both metaphorically and literally.  Like any relationship, we build our creative processes on the foundation of a thousand tiny gestures, not the occasional grand overture.

You can see more of Nina's work on her website.

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