Interview with Nathaniel Cary, Valerie Collart and Alejandro Urrutia

We asked a few questions to Nahaniel, Valerie and Alejandro about their art practice, how they see the interaction between art and design, their life in Copenhagen. Find here what inspires and moves them.

Q.We see that more and more fine artists seem to be experimenting with aspects of design, and designers becoming more abstract in their creativity. Do you feel the role of art within design, and the role of design within art is changing within culture at present?

Valerie - Today, I see a lot of inspiring designers and artists playing with the balance and interactions between design objects and conceptual sculptures or art objects in general.

Alejandro - I do believe that nowadays with this complex and fascinating world, that changes and gives space to several different topics and aspects to create, this gives designers and artists a great opportunity to express themselves as freely as they can. Much more than before when art and design movements or trend currents were guiding things in a certain direction.

Nathaniel - I remember there was a shift in the art-world in the UK to craft some years ago, I would say in the UK this was maybe even 8-10 years back. This is not to say that artists were necessarily making design work or vice versa, but there was a renaissance in process based art, particularly I noticed a lot of artists starting making ceramic works.

Alejandro - A design career back in my home country Chile has changed enormously since the last Earthquake and Tsunami that hit us back in 2010. The focus used to be more artistic and less practical, but since then after this huge natural disaster that affected a lot of people, houses and even territory, this had a big impact on the approach to design as well as the needs of it.

Valerie - I think that the ambiguous nature of some objects allows us to reflect on this in a very fascinating way, it also helps us to extend the possibilities of our aesthetic experiences independently of the space or context it is presented in to.

Q. Do you feel your creative process has more flexibility when working with a gallery space that operates in-between art and design?

Nathaniel - I am not sure if I feel more flexibility when making work for an art/design gallery but I do think that it opens an opportunity to consider the life of the objects that you are concerned with making more than perhaps if it was being shown within a traditional art context.

Valerie - I think working with a gallery space that operates in between art and design is interesting in the sense that it enhances the ambivalence of objects by placing them in a dialectic, and it invites us to put the attention on the possibilities and the materiality of the objects differently and to reflect on them in new ways when including the possibilities of their form and function or non function.

Nathaniel - For me, I feel I have had to consider the function of the object more, and how it fits in within a wider design culture when deciding what materials to work with. I am also very curious to know if the design world considers the life of the object in a different way.

Q.Since moving to, or relocating back to Copenhagen, what effect/influence did this have on your art practice?

Alejandro - Tremendously. How I see and feel art is what happens in my daily life. As I mentioned before my background is so different from where I am based now, here in Copenhagen. For me, this is an incredible and fascinating opportunity to gain and observe so many different things that are definitely un-common compared to back in my home country.

Valerie - After I graduated in 2006 from the Art school “Villa Arson” in Nice (FR.), I have lived and worked for a few years in Paris untill I finally moved to Copenhagen (DK), in 2008. Looking at it retrospectively, I realise that it has had a very positive impact on my work; since I feel like I have found a good base where I find it easier to concentrate and work, together with a really good life quality.

Nathaniel - Moving to Copenhagen has educated me more about design culture and history and I have certainly become more aware of artists who can inhabit both the art and the design world. I have also found the art scene here more peer led than institutional and this is particularly liberating for younger artists not yet finding a place within traditional institutional contexts.

Q. How does Denmark's creative scene compare to your home countries? (or countries you used to live or study in).

Valerie - The Danish creative scene appears to me to be very much concern with a strong sense of aesthetic, a very subtle attention is put on materiality, and there is attention paid to the inclusion of the viewer in the aesthetic experience that I find very interesting.

Alejandro - I believe that the Danish art scene has always been very conceptual and complex and that was a big thing that attracted me to move here in the first place.

Nathaniel - The art scene here has had more state support than in the UK over the last 15-20 years and so I have found artists here are seem freer and more able to commit to projects because of state funding, or at least there seems less dependence on finding commercial success.

Q. How do you see the strong role and the influence of design(ers) in Denmark on the art scene and on everyday life in general, what strikes you as a foreigner and as an artist? What did you find unusual or funny or special, design wise ?

Alejandro - Danish design has this strong remarkable sense of simplicity that I love; do things in the very best way with good materials, well done but without any luxury. That is something I get attracted every day that maybe danish society is used to but me coming from Chile is totally different.

Nathaniel - I have the perception that in Britain our artists are more famous than our designers, and within that world I see British architects over product designers being more influential. Denmark is world famous for its design culture and history and I have been slowly learning more about the people that formed this

Valerie - I find the influence and the strong role of designers in Denmark on the art scene as a sign of open minded attitude and enlargement of experiences and influences in an art world that can sometimes enclose on itself and become hermetic to the viewer and fail in its intentions of reaching an audience and the possibilities of an aesthetic experience. "

Natalia Enge