Interview with Siggi Sekira
Interview with Siggi Sekira
Portrait © Courtesy the Artist, Photo by Max Feldmann
The interview was conducted by chat. Both the artist and CAT have decided to publish it unedited. Please enjoy!
Vincent Schneider, 19:14
Siggi Sekira, 19:14
so we can start
actually I love to do interviews by chat
it is the organic way to communicate
even though my brain feels like a webbrowser with to many tabs open
i have about 20 open now haha
I lost count.
Thanks for being a part of CAT. We are very happy to offer our collectors a new series of 7 of your drawings. Your works are so very immersive, scary, and attractive simultaneously.
I would like to give our collectors the opportunity to learn more about your work and practice.
Thank you for having me. It's great to participate alongside many other exciting artists.
You are welcome! When we talked about your drawings I was totally submersing myself in shutting off that part of one’s perception, that tries to decode, analyze and understand the perceivable. And then I found fragments of a deconstructed female or androgynous child-like face floating in correlation with purple goo and blue nervlike ectoplasm, softly exhaling a blackness into the void surrounding it.
I believe rationalizing the emotional is impossible and can even be destructive. Through your drawings, one feels that might be what has happened – or has been done – to the „Harlequin“ in your work. Is this visualized defragmentation a result of a means to explain what can’t be?
My drawings might seem rather cryptic but are, in fact, more rational and clear than people think. I invent a very particular symbolic language that usually tells a story. Decoding or not decoding the story is up to the spectator. The “Harlequin” is about playing the role of Harlequin and showing this agile trickster to the world as a kind of comfort blanket. Defragmentation is a way of letting go off one’s body that my characters go through, whether successfully or not.
I'm intrigued by the "Harlequin" as a trickster. The ambiguity inherent in the figure certainly gives it a lot of power.
I agree. It is a complex figure and a in a way an alter ego.
I like to introduce a little bit of comedy in my work too.
That's something I was very curious about!
The way you play with feminity or rather girlishness
Sometimes it looks fragile, sometimes totally overpowering.
This makes me happy to hear. I rather go for the androgynous but at the same time I'm unafraid to show hyper femininity. Traditional masculinity, however, is by choice completely absent in my work, I believe.
I'm not searching for a masculine role model but try to give power to the androgynous or, if you like, the transitional teenage girl.
The androgynous state is certainly is very visible I think.
Your ceramics are composed of these same elements and often show these androgynous forms and faces – which turn into mystical beings with mermaid-like tails or spikes formed like arrows sticking out of them. Your ceramics we saw in Ludwig Forum, Aachen in the exhibition Sweet Lies were showing figures morphing out of or moving in their turtle-like shells and felt so powerful seemingly contradicting their fragility. Do you believe fragility can be powerful or is power always fragile?
Siggi Sekira, April's News, 44 x 21 x 10cm, glazed stoneware, 2019
This is a difficult question.
I believe it isn’t necessarily an “either/or” situation. One has to be powerful and unafraid enough to show vulnerability or else it’s a complete breakdown. There’s always risk of that happening. I have never been particularly interested in showing strength and conventional beauty, as it is dangerous and rooted in fascism. I’m much more interested in misfits who try to find their own place in the world. It’s about honesty and the fragility that comes with it.
Indeed this approach to the outside world is risky. Often – especially in states of transition – the honest and daring are rejected and left behind or are being kept outside.
Exactly. I agree completely.
Now that I'm thinking about it this seems to be the definition of a teenage heroine/hero on her/his path to become free of social pressure and gender constructs that hurt and diminish a healthy ego...
there's a point where one can be anything
this is very peculiar about your work. this point is visible.
This is true. On the other side, I frequently try to describe the out of body experience in my work and the fragile link between the body and the mind. I'm highly interested and intrigued by body horror. Foe example, early David Cronenberg. But also Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) is an interesting young director.
I see horror as a deep and intimate medium and not necesssarily a mere way of spooking the viewer.
I did not dare to whatch Hereditary yet! But I'm also very very into horror – kind of forced into it, as my wife is a hardcore horror nerd.
It's a very scary one. I don't dare to rewatch. The main character is an artist, too.
I honestly believe the cartasis enforced by body horror gives us a chance to keep our daily anxiety at bay.
The severed head is a common motif in his films so far. Very disturbing indeed.
This is why I'm watching horror!
Does Ari Aster use the severed head itself as a motif or rather the headless body?
This is a good question.
This is something I ask myself too when I let my heads float in my own work.
I mean the Acephale is such a crucial symbol in the history of philosophy and art history.
I think there is certainly a fear of fragmentation. One is disturbed by the lack of the whole and wholesome body.
we talked about this next question a little before in the chat but I think it fits nicely to severed heads. 😂
The organic forms of your works seem to me like parts of a larger being that constantly needs to be reassembled to fit in a format. Bones, flesh, muscle, and strands of DNA struggling to find a place in the overwhelming blackness. What is that what is holding together or pulling apart these re-occurring elements in your work?
As I've mentioned, it is my way of showing the out of body experience. What pulls it together – I believe, is an honest desire to function and to carry on – despite all circumstances.
Although I really like your analogy and will think more about it.
by the way: I'm sure you've seen images on the web of Ectoplasm, or did you not? I saw them for the first time today!
No I haven't. I will check it out right away
Ah interesting. Quite terrifying
Stanisława Popielska with Ectoplasm
This is the one I've just seen
I had pneumonia as a child and this fear of not being able to breathe again affected me later in life too.
This is a terrifying feeling! As a kid I had a bade case of pertussis
I also had pertussis as a tiny baby
It's always something that has to do with breathing… curiously enough.
I was puking and coughing at the same time. What a weird feeling.
I wouldn't remember whooping cough, of course. Only what my family told me about it.
Yeah me too...
Actually I just remeber once I was so sick with the flue, coughing and having a very high fever – that I dreamt I was taking thick panes of glass and would press them against my naked chest melting them into sand by forcing them against my hot skin.
It's terrifying but it's also a kind of interesting image
Something that might inspire me actually 😋
I just remembered that because you mentioned the pneumonia.
It's a feeling that's hard to forget, I think. And now especially because of Corona.
Yes! OMG! Once after a new years eve party I had such a allerigic reaction to sssulfite in the champagne, that I could not breath at all (the two packs of cigarettes also weren't helping much).
I had this urge to take a deep breath.
wow I've never heard of this
And everything was so swollen up because of the allergy... I could hardly suck in any air.
we take breathing for granted all the time
My future wife was with me and gave me a gush of here asthma spray, which immediately helped me out.
Did your breatning completely restore afterwards?
I did not stop smoking though 😂😂😂
I find it very hard to stop
Very human of you
everyone is smoking in Vienna. It doesn't help
😂😅 Apropos breathing. The pandemic has changed some more than others but certainly has left an imprint on everyone I know. Did you feel a change in your work due to ever-changing Covid-situation?
Absolutely. I don't have my own ceramic workshop or my own kiln, thus working with ceramics proved very difficult during the pandemic. This is why I focused more on drawing and produced a whole lot of them in the varying formats.
Moreover, there is so much time to ponder...
Oh yes! The pandemic has been a total game changer for me. Wondering about what makes sense and what is good and healthy. It was a ggod feeling, when everything slowed down and people where realy careful with everything. Now it feels strangely hectic....
What’s coming up next for you?
I have a small group exhibition in Vienna in January. Of course, if it doesn't get cancelled due to Corona. And then a solo exhibition in May in London.
Congrats on the solo in London! This is what's worse with the Pandemic for artists around the world! Everything could get cancelled last minute.
Yes and it was!
So you put in a good 6 months of hardcore working
and bam... cancelled.
I have a few Corona exhibitions behind me
not postponed, but cancelled
yes, or nobody shows up to see it. It was especially the case during the 1st lockdown– when everyone was extra scared
I mean... this has also been a major motivator for us to do this online shop.
It's difficult to produce too. Really a challenge.
The commercial art market is moving very fast. And by moving so fast some artists get left behind – unfortunately.
The shop is also help for the artists – if something sells
I agree with you!
And especially those who are emerging or mid-career.
Or without galleries
no real support system
It became harder to sell during corona
a lot just fell throuogh
Yes, we were and are very aware of the issues. That is a main motivator for us.
Thanks for your time Siggi!
thank you Vincent