Interview: Nathalie De Zan
Vivacious perspective and bouncy yellow
edition of 4 26.5x20inch 2020
1) Could you introduce yourself? Where did you study art, and when did you first see yourself as an artist?
My name is Nathalie De Zan and I am a multimedia artist born in Toulouse, France. I fell in love with the beauty of the colors and the absurdity of the world when I was a little girl. I have a twin sister who is pragmatic, and I am idealistic. It was probably planed that way since my birth. Growing up there were some curious circumstances that fed me with absurd experiences. This has become how I express myself.
2) Who are some of the philosophers and their ideas that you have studied to formulate your ideas and visions for your art? Is Immanuel Kant and his "Critique of Judgment" a major influence in your work?
I used more old tales then philosophers to elaborate my vision even if I think that the concept of Sublime in the "Critique of Judgment" is essential. It is so important to share an emotional experience, something which can moves you.
3) Why do you choose digitally manipulated photography as your primary medium? Your work has a visual quality that sits in the in-between space of figurative painting and photography.
I love the idea that nothing survived the final photo. The photo is the trace of what is real which comes from a dream. Once I am done with a picture, I generally destroy all the decors. This come from a lack of room but also because there is something extremely romantic and erotic in this act. The photo is the result of a climax. But this moment is never good enough because the set up comes from a dream which was clear when I dreamt about it but blurry when I was awaken. There is always a sort of tension when I am about to complete a photo shoot because I know I am close to the final result, but I don’t know If I will succeed. Using a camera is attempting to capture a dream.
The bell, passed out, the blue trout
edition of 5 20x30inch 2021
4) Are eroticism and sexuality an important aspect of your work? What do you think of Sigmund Freud's concept of sublimation?
Eroticism and sexuality are not important, but it is surely in my work. I am not looking for it, it is just there. I am not familiar with this concept according to Freud. I think in his idea there is something rejective. I agree more with the vision of Carl Jung who thinks that sublimation is alchemical transformation. My whole practice is based on this idea in that my principal materials are my dreams.
5) What is a chimera and how is it an important concept in your art?
I like to play with parts of the body. A bit like Hans Bellmer, I take different parts to construct a new figure. This facilitates the act of self-portraiture, but this essentially helps me to create a perspective, an action. I really love the idea to start with a materiel which comes from a real-life body. When I take all these elements to recreate a body it become a chimera, a fictional creature who comes from my dreams.
-Is it some sort of plane? Is it a Lipstick? -No! It is a Carmine Attack!
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6) What was your artist residency at Chateau H in France like? What did you gain from the residency, and who are some of the people whom you met?
This experience was amazing! Right before I planned my trip to the United-States I had the pleasure to do this artistic residency. It took place at Saint-Julia which is a castle in the south of France owned by Helena Patricio and Sotho. They are both artists and work with different medias. She is a beautiful actress, model, and contortionist. She is frail as a dear and as strong as a rock. Sotho is a genius inventor. He is always creating some musical instruments, incredible shows and so on. They enlarged my vision by their common richness. It was a great honor to have their advice and to share artistic visions in between these walls surrounded by green grasshoppers. They are curious people. They really love to discover new worlds through their program of artistic residency.
7) Are you a Christian or a nonbeliever? Or are you a spiritual person? Is the concept of a secular Christianity possible? What would that entail?
This is an interesting question. I think I am more a secular Christian in the way I believe in the powerful symbols in the bible. I am also fascinated by all the religious paintings which always subvert me because of their strength, sensuality, and elegance. I never read the whole bible but there are some beautiful texts that I feel inspire by.
From the Callas to the yellow bag there is just a tiny inch !
edition of 5 25x36inch 2020
8) In Joseph Campbells' book "Goddesses," the Semitic people who believed in one masculine God were said to have wiped out the cultures of people who believed in many feminine goddesses. The beautiful goddess, the mother creator, plays an important role in the planting cultures as opposed to the war-like male god in the herding nomadic people. What do you think about this history, and does your art relate to these past occurrences? Is it a coincidence that all or most of your figures are all females?
I think there are several female Goddesses and just one male god. The number doesn’t place one above, they are just different. These remind me of Mary Esther Harding. In her book Woman Mysteries, she evokes the idea that men are like suns and women like moons. Women have different phases while men are constant. I really believe in that and in the fact that women have cycles which make them change and evolve all the time. I can see that in my own life and in my work. When I prepare an image to be printed, I slightly rework the skin, a hair, a breast. It is the beauty and the curse of each of my images. Because my vision is evolving all the time, I change some details and rework it. You can see a slight difference on the same print through the years and this makes each of my artworks unique.
If there is only females in my work it is only because I use my own body it isn’t by design.
The gravity center rests on the yellow tissue
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9) Are you a feminist or post-feminist and why?
I work with my body as my first materiel. I think it is political in the way I am using my own body. I position myself as a female artist who follows her vision. I don’t think my art is feminist, but I strongly believe in the liberty to work with my body and to reappropriate it.
10) What are your plans and goals for the future? Where do you see yourself going in the next five years? How do you see yourself evolving as an artist?
I would love to continue to share stories and dreams. I want to develop more shows mixing exhibitions and performances like my last show “Artistic Amaze”.I like to desacralize the conventional exhibition. Each artwork is a window that invites you to enter in an absurd world.
In five years, I picture myself on a blue barge sailing. I will invite artist and curious travelers to come with me.