MUNTHE ART MONDAY: Marie Bitsch-Larsen
Who are you and how would you describe your art?
My name is Marie Bitsch-Larsen and I am a visual artist. I live and work in Copenhagen. However, currently also in Sønderho on Fanø, where my holiday home over the past year has transformed into a refuge and my favorite work space. The house is completely secluded, no street lights, no people. Located in the middle of a heather and dune landscape. There I find an indescribable calm for my work.
Primarily I work with drawing, graphics and painting in an extended field. I work in the field of tension between the figurative and the nonfigurative. My motifs often incorporate mythical beings, human figures, skulls and from there transcend towards the more atmospheric soluble, abstract universe. Both the feminine, the masculine and the androgynous are important elements in my work.
Most recently I have exhibited at the group exhibition SUPERNOVA at Galleri Christoffer Egelund.
How has being a woman affected your career?
In relation to my profession, I experience that many people have a need to view the woman from a kind of stereotypical position of gaze. There are more and more codes dictating how one must be to be a part of the so-called artist-elite community. Especially for woman. For example, one cannot both have a great aesthetic preference for dressing in exclusive designs, and at the same time be an artist who takes her deepest realizations seriously. A both and does not really exist. You cannot move in different worlds - then you are not considered a real, thoroughbred artist. This blatantly incorrect attention and narrow-mindedness bores me enormously. It is not the attire or the look that should be in focus. It is the quality of one's work that should be the essential thing. Since I am not a man but a woman, this banal problem has been noticeable.
What themes do you pursue in your art?
We as human beings stand in a place where everything that matters moves strangely fast. A breathless life where values are not consistent but fluid. They depend on the discourse between time, place and space. There is a multiverse of truths that require increased reflexivity at the individual level in order to engage in the myriad of diversity of opinions and contingency. I examine this developmental tendency in my work. The dominant topics in my practice are life, death and transformation. Death as a kind of developer for life. A basic condition, a rest for the living, to which I constantly return in my work. The transience and the transformation in nature, in the human, the organic and the living transformation is a magnetic center in my visual language. I am preoccupied with the borderland between the real and the unreal. I move in this middleground, in the dissolution between the abstract and the concrete. The imaginary world that hopefully makes the viewer wiser to the real world. The invisible, that is the important part.
Explain your process
Ideas can arise in vastly different contexts. For the most part, it is during my work process with a given image, where one line or a brush stroke becomes the catalyst for a new idea or path into the image. At other times, an idea may suddenly appear on a sleepless night or during a train ride. I do not work with large calculated formulas and sketches, but more directly with a conscious and focused impulse. I find a lot of inspiration in the musical lyrical, in philosophy and in fiction. Words, a pulse or a phrase can give rise to an entire series of images.
How does gender affect your work?
The feminine is a completely natural part of my imagery universe, both in style and motif.
The question annoys me a bit, because it can help ratify the inequality between men and women (who work as professional visual artists) further. Male artists are not asked that question, or referred to as “male artists” for that matter. However, it is absolutely crucial that the battle with inequality and women's unreasonable conditions on the art scene is highlighted and attested. The asymmetry is extremely disturbing, my gender should not define the degree of my success I have with my work.
Be uncompromising. Never compromise on your passion. The contemplative periods are a crucial part of my creative process. Without it, there is no precondition for originality. Secondly, the creative process cannot be forced. When it is not there, it is not there, and then you have to leave your work and find peace in the fact that it will return later. It lives its own life, and one must learn to accept and come to terms with it. Do not let yourself be defined through other people's image work. Create your inner freedom and relate only to your imagination.
Each Monday we publish an interview with a female artist. Follow MUNTHE ART MONDAY here.