re:future Lab featuring
Sandra Krasker (b. France, 1976) is a visual artist who uses drawing and digital media. After graduating from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris with a National Diploma of Plastic Arts, she joined “59 Rivoli”, a residence for 30 artists, a former artists' squat located in the heart of Paris. Her work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions since 2011, recently "Santa Dolores", Jean-Louis Ramand gallery, Bologna (2019), “Verser l'offrande I" (“Sacrifice the offering I”), Jean-Louis Ramand gallery, Círculo de Bellas Artes gallery, Madrid (2018). She is represented by Jean-Louis Ramand gallery in Paris. Before following her vocation in the arts, she started her career as an art director in advertising agencies, amongst them TBWA Paris, which has been elected 4 times "Agency of the Year" at the Cannes Lions, 2 times "Best French Advertising Agency" and 2 times "Agency of the Year" at the Effie Awards.
A time lived in slowmotion
Les Anges Ne Meures Pas (2019), courtesy of the artist, experimental video drawing, mixed media, drawing on cintiq and montage after effects
In her recent work, Sandra Krasker tests a confrontation between drawing and trick film methods. Through the language of video, it is the future that now seems to offer itself as a territory of investigation.
If Sandra Krasker has chosen drawing as a major artistic medium, it is because she wishes to put the test of time long, a time lived in slow motion, as opposed to video, for example, where, she says, time gets carried away. In this respect, her approach is a continuation of narrative figuration, this current born at the dawn of the social and political fractures of ‘68, which proposed to reconnect with temporality, history and stories. Using media supports such as photography, at a time when the media image is booming, narrative figuration proposes to reintroduce a narrative to end art for art's sake. The French art historian and critic Jean-Louis Pradel's description of this is enlightening: While the best of worlds seems to be fleeing ever faster, ever further away, lost in the tumult of deafening noise and blinding light, the lucidity of saying no and the irrepressible will to be free is resisting.
Freedom is at issue in the work of Sandra Krasker. For under the imprint of a very good academicism, the form becomes subversive by the treatment of subjects imbued with a political and social consciousness anchored in its time. We think of her work: No Pasarán! (2014), a testimony to the horrors of Franco's regime experienced by his grandparents and great-uncle, anarchists’ members of the FAI (Federación Anarquista Ibérica). A political prisoner then sent by Franco to the Foreign Legion, his grandmother's younger brother returned with both legs amputated at the age of 20. Through this confrontation with reality, the artist becomes a mediator of the unspeakable.
Dear Sandra, by combining a traditional medium with a very contemporary one, such as video, you add a new dimension to your work. Suppose we interpret this as a kind of look into the future, could we hope for a healing of past wounds? Do you think that art can contribute to social change?
In your opinion, what is the mission of contemporary art and what is the role of artists in society?
The work exists when we come out of it emotionally changed, troubled. So, art is not a solution to social change, it is the mirror of our society, of each one of us. It then raises social questions by its creative power and allows to open the perceptions of each one without being dogmatic.
What form could a dialogue between art and other disciplines take in order to promote social change and shape the future? What new impulses and ideas might come out of this?
Crossing different disciplines is crucial, it is, in my opinion, the only way out of an artistic academism. For example, I explore video, which I integrate with classical drawing. Confronting the two, is for me opening a vital dialogue between modernity and tradition that allows an appropriation of time. Art gives us the possibility to play with this time. I would like to collaborate with drawing animators, motion designers and explore optical illusion techniques such as holograms.
What role does storytelling play in times of great upheaval? In the light of the crises that characterize our world today, do you think that we are allowed daring to imagine a better future?
SK: The work shows the unspeakable, it is probably a bottle in the sea, a hope to be heard, seen, listened to... The creation leaves a trace, it testifies to its time, not by facts or evidence as a documentary could do, but by emotions. In this sense, wishing a better world too quickly exposes oneself to radicalism. To build a better world would be to give meaning back to temporality, to question our past history, our physical and psychic wounds.
Assuming a better world could be built on the ruins of the old world - what do you think it would look like?
What do you wish for a better future?
SK: I don't think the artist, alone, can imagine a better future. We should believe in a bubbling collective artistic emulation that draws an idea of a better future or sometimes utopias. Built on this basis, the utopias I imagine would be the possibility of merging more urbanism and nature so that our body finds its place in an environment that better meets its basic needs. It would also be necessary to bring back the sacred in cities that are too much of concrete, I think that is something that is very present in my artistic work, this need for the sacred and self-collection.
It is often said that the special power of art lies in the courageous and fearless pursuit of the new and always starting from scratch on a blank piece of paper. What strategies, rituals or techniques do you personally use to find your way into a new work and start from scratch with a new project?
Starting over and renewing oneself is the motor. Among my creative strategies, I use the confrontation of drawing and video. The two intersect and the lived experience of time is different; this form new ideas, sometimes even new formats (such as initiating a drawing from an image extracted from a video sequence).
I am also very interested in suspended plant installations and I am thinking of a new way to make my work of drawings and videos interact with plants. In particular, I would like to project a video on a suspended plant installation, the relationship to the living in the work interests me, organs being present in my work, integrating living or ephemeral would be in my projects.
Text and interview: Madeleine Schwinge, Cécile Nebbot
Translation from French: Cécile Nebbot
The interview was conducted in April 2020