Iris Swift meets Atoosa Pour Hosseini – April 2012

I went to meet Atoosa in the Guesthouse, Cork where she was on a residency for a few weeks in April. While there, she would be creating various elements to use in her part film/part performance piece called ‘Latitude’. This piece is a culmination of her current interests, where she combines rather delicate hand made elements with digital projections in an attempt to explore the correlation between the moving image and drawing. Atoosa embraces modern technology in her art, but she also seems to still be dedicated to the more traditional methods that she has learnt along her career. It is this progression and various facets of her work that I wanted to investigate.

Looking at your paintings they appear to be in a state of emergence, they are quite layered, dreamy. Is this an aesthetic that you wish to create?

“Yes definitely. My works explore questions around illusion and reality and my themes are related to memory and dreams. I normally don’t plan my pieces but I go and have the experience of creating them.”

So you work from memory rather than having a predestined idea?

“Yes, yes. Before I started my work more figuratively, I studied painting. But as soon as I came to Ireland my work changed and I got a lot more into abstract art. I don’t know why, maybe my situation…everything changed. I think I work on the line between these two though – not completely abstract and not completely figurative.”

Would you see there being a lot of chance and contingence playing a role when you work?

“I always have basic ideas but I am very inspired by the process of making and creating.”

I wondered about your photographs, I loved your ‘Glimpses’ series from 2009 and I found them to be like snapshots of a journey, or walk. I don’t know if you are familiar with Richard Wentworth but they reminded me of his photos in some ways. Would you work similarly to him, such as photographing spontaneously, or would you go and search for certain things to photograph?

“I normally take photos as a type of sketch or inspiration towards some other work. Its not just a photograph. Usually I use them for my prints, or paintings.”

Would you use them for film at all?

“Yes, yes. For the past 2 years I have been focusing mainly on the moving image and video animation. One film I made in 2011, it’s called ‘Then’, it’s drawing animated but I used photographs and manipulated them. That series that you mentioned is part of my print series.

It’s nice to have layers to your work, which I see in yours.

“Yes, actually the work I’m focusing on now for the Guesthouse is multi-layered through the moving image. I use prints and drawings and various media.”

This film reminds me very much of Tacita Dean’s piece called ‘Film’ that was commissioned for the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern and has many layers to it.

“My focus is very much on the layering of mediums at the moment.”

So would you see the medium as the subject more than anything else then?

“Yes, definitely. And I’m also very interested in the form of arts. My main focus at the minute is how to project through drawing and painting and I am very interested in the correlation between drawing and the moving image. And also sound as well. I am playing with two projections and I project my video piece then I start to play on the projector and bring different objects I have made into view in front of it – kind of like drawing cinema.”

I like the idea that you kind of create a performance at the same time – this work will never be the same each time you display it.

“Yes it is like that too.”

It’s nice to see you embracing both the modern artforms in projection and the more traditional, of drawing and sculpture. A lot of artists seem to be either for or against, such as Tacita Dean again.

“I come from a very traditional experience of painting, but I am trying to find a way that I can work between these two. To find how the digital work can help me to improve artistically.”

Digital is of our time so it is important to embrace it I suppose.

“Yes, it is for me. I am interested in analogue but we can’t stick to the past.”

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