“Essential for the sanity of the planet.”
Paul Zimmerman in conversation with Andi Edan
PZ: You were born in South Africa and lived in Israel, Belgium and the UK.
How does your multicultural experience shape your vision and art practice?
AE: Looking back, I believe that my artistic vision has had more to do with my family background than with geographic locations. There have been many influential women in my family. My grandmother’s sister was a suffragette and my grandmother, an admirer of Ghandi, was a collector of waifs and strays, both animals and humans. My mother, being keen on health, sport and fitness, directed me to enrol in sports but somehow I always ended up in drawing or other creative classes. Having first studied to be a structural engineer, it took me until my mid-twenties to get onto a full time Fine Arts degree course where I majored in Painting, Photography and Print-making. This, after having worked for several years as an engineer in Israel and England.
PZ: From Knitted Projects to paintings and photography you have been exploring many mediums and disciplines.
How do they resonate with your sensibility?
AE: My grandmother taught me to knit as far back as I can remember. Over the years I have always knitted, crocheted and even made lace. My encounter with Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party”, inspired me to use these skills in my own work. I have always been interested in technology generally and experimental photography in particular. For several years I worked in a Brussels based high-tech graphic arts company demonstrating high-end digital pre-press systems and teaching people to use them. Later I ran my own creative services company (Image Workshop) in central London, using one of these systems.
PZ: Your work reflects a number of political and social issues. How involved are you in these matters?
AE:Following a post graduate course in London, I ran a “women’s art” program. I had become increasingly aware of social issues facing women and the differences between women of different backgrounds and cultures. To this day, much of my artwork has (often oblique) references to the perception of women’s bodies. Apart from the integration of techniques traditionally considered to be “craft” into my art, much of my work involves taking everyday objects and presenting them in a new visual context.
Halves Joined, 2020, acrylic, wool on MDF
PZ: How would you define yourself as an artist?
AE:Open minded and generally within the context of Western Art.
PZ: Space and movement are explored in many of your works. How did you become interested in dance and performance?
AE: I have always believed that art is more effective if it is multi-disciplinary and not limited to a particular form. In the past I have worked with dancers on collaborative pieces. I find dance to be particularly interesting as a sculptural and visual form.
PZ: Which artists are you most influenced by?
Cezanne, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Judy Chicago, Pina Bausch, Muybridge.
PZ: What are you working on now?
AE: I am continuing with my work which, using everyday objects, either found around the house or anywhere else, to portray my visual ideas. I have boxes of items that I find interesting and often evocative that will eventually be worked into future pieces. For example, a piece of string can have a unique visual connotation when incorporated into an artwork as opposed to being used to simply tie up a parcel.
PZ: What is your next project?
AE: I don’t really have “projects” as such. I find that one series of works tends to lead to the next one.
PZ: How do you see the role of art in society?
AE: Essential for the sanity of the planet.
PZ: How does the pandemic influence your work?
AE: When the lockdown started in March 2020, I envisioned having lots of time to get on with my work. However, I found that being virtually shut in was stifling. I have spent a lot of time on photography projects and may use some of these in future work.