Interview with Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez

Johannes Fricke Waldthausen: Where is your studio located in Berlin and how do you work?

Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez: I work in my studio, in a color darkroom in Prenzlauerberg, and on the streets. The spaces, I work in are mainly focused on the projects and let by the actual requirements.

JFW: Why did you move to Berlin? Has the city influenced your artistic practice?

TEF: In 2008, I moved from London to Berlin. It was an influential time for me, like a transformational mindspace, as I wanted to expand my practice to re-evaluate and sharpen my ways to work. I then focused on music and performance for a while and started a venture of new works which were of ephemeral quality. The ephemeral, the invisible, the impalpable is inscribed in Berlin through many layers.

JFW: Your new series “a leopard cannot change its spots / sad lone scorpions can't get a path” (2013) evolves around experiments with color photograms oscillating between chance, immediate perception and abstraction. Can you say more about this?  

TEF: Overall, photograms create an image without a camera so they distinguish from other photography techniques. They are created by a beam of light, which is transmitted from an object, falls onto the negative film, and in this way captures the imprint of light, of a picture’s representation.  

In my color photograms, I deliberately use color in order to open multi-layered spaces. Maybe similar to a hologram, the color sequences open up the possibility to step out of the flatness of the two-dimensional representation. I wanted to add other, new layers to the picture, where it becomes an abstract, perceptive, and autonomous element, a medium to create an atmospheric, spatial imprint addressing immediate perception. Working with color sequences as effect in photograms points more to the abstract, subconscious mind and direct perception than a regular photograph. Further, I embedded the broken glass of neon tubes as a recurring motif, including the notion of change, experimentation and giving up control.

JFW: Are there other recurring themes and subjects in your work?  

TEF: My work could be characterized by a strong interest in light and movement, which becomes particularly visible in my color photograms allophone (2013) and a leopard cannot change its spots / sad lone scorpions can't get a path (2013) and my videos and filmic works. I integrate light and movement in many forms, relating to the perception of time and the transmission of knowledge and meaning. This can also be captured by the display of apparently static objects in my sculptures or in other non-abstract, more narrative forms.

My artworks reflect the fragmentary character of  “found” and appropriated objects. I react to a situation by finding these objects or fragments and using their cryptic power by allocating them into new contexts. Visually and conceptually, I always try to balance the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional. In this sense, I question our visual conditioning by creating images, which are not necessarily legible straight away, which communicate on different levels, suggesting an alternative order of things.

JFW: Many of your works are sculptural. In your film-installation optical wrecking (2013) you deconstruct the memory of a party, that already happened like a found object. This recalls montage techniques of experimental filmmakers like Stan Brackhedge.

TEF: It was more the process of transformation that I am interested in than the actual happening of a party or event. Memory in the context of nostalgia has never been my interest. For this project, I used leftover materials from the floor the day after the actual happening (tobacco, hair, confetti, and other residues) and used transparent tape to transfer and embed them onto a transparent 16mm film role. I projected it and recorded the image digitally to further evolve the color atmosphere recalling leftovers of a celebration. I also recorded the sound of the flickering film with these bulky bits of dirt passing awkwardly through the film projector. Sound and movement became the qualities of a frozen moment of the “day after”.

JFW: Who has influenced you and your work particularly?

TEF: This brings several artists, thinkers and anthropologists, scientists and spiritual people to my mind, who have influenced me in many different phases as both a human and an artist. To mention one person in particular: Rosemarie Trockel, my former teacher end of the ’90s, had a strong impact on my work’s development at a time where my perception of what art could be became more precise. She encouraged me to develop a more playful, curious, and questioning approach, which has led me to my infinite wish to evolve and transform my artistic practice into many directions.