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Artist Talk with Gabriela Kobus

12 Questions to Artist: Gabriela Kobus

Gabriela Kobus addresses questions of absurdity and pathos and reflects on the comparability of different realities of life. She combines research and facts with her own artistic input to fill in some gaps, while other missing information remains unknown. All these elements interact in a humorous and sometimes cynical way to give us space to think about the objects, the realities they represent, and the complex relationships in which they are entangled.

TH: Your life without art would be…

GK: …no idea.

TH: Where do you take your inspiration?

GK: Talks and discussions with fellow artists.

Irritation and uncomfortable questions hold great potential of inspiration for me.

Generally, it can come from everywhere and be in everything: research, books, internet, people, processes,

incidents, nature and also out of empty spaces or complete silence.

TH: When did you start with the project Informal City Park and what attracted you most?

GK: I started to formulate the concept in 2017.

My first approach was presented in a small solo exhibition during the “Lindenow” festival in Leipzig.

The attraction for me, was the idea of an art-project that can grow step by step into a project featuring many artists, including various nationalities, age groups and backgrounds.

The idea to continue the project with the guests from Cairo was born out of my visit to the city in 2019.

TH: What literature did you study during the lockdown phase of the project?

GK: I followed my interest in going deeper into the field of sociology and found time to read more from my favorite theorist Niklas Luhmann, especially his work: “Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft”.

Following Luhmann I also stepped into the “Laws of Form” by George Spencer Brown.

I discovered texts from Sigfried Kracauer, which led me to read “Sigfried Kracauer zur Einführung” by Gertrud Koch.

I also enjoyed “Was Massen mögen” by Norbert Loacker.

The magazines of “dérive- Zeitschrift für Stadtforschung” take up diverse topics of urban research and cultivate a critical discourse – very interesting to read!

TH: What is your work about?

GK: In general, my art is about megacities as a huge, rapidly growing structure beyond human dimensions and as a foundation of social life, closely linked to the needs of its inhabitants.

It´s about the (impossible) reception of incalculable layers of complex interrelationships.

It´s about the reception of very different realities of life.

TH: How do you see the interplay between amusement park and slum?

GK: Both terms are loaded with imaginations. The term slum is not commonly used in professional contexts.

I chose these terms as catchwords to trigger question marks.

With the term “slum”, I am addressing informal structures in cities – spatial wise and social wise.

As an outsider, it is almost impossible to approach the topic of “slums” adequately.

The amusement theme is my attempt to create an abstract experimental field that brings up a connection of different realities of life via the need for pleasure.

TH: How was your working process, the interactions with the other artists and the relationship to the exhibition space?

GK: The process was quite challenging sometimes because I handled several actions at the same time. There were times when it was difficult to find the balance between management, like all the financial planning and organization, and my own artistic production.

The interaction with the other artists and the cooperation with StudioKhana were inspiring, enriching and great!

I fell in love with the a&o Kunsthalle at first sight – an outstanding location, in general and also unique in Leipzig. Getting the chance to realize the ICP project in this space was an additional inspiration for me.

TH: How do you look at your hometown today? Has your perception of the city changed?

GK: I am observing the processes (like before).

TH: What moments will you remember in the future when you look back on the Informal City Park project?

GK: Good moment: An outstanding situation for me was the first meeting with the entire Studio Khana team and the participating artists in Cairo in autumn 2019.

Before I only knew the works of the artists and the curational work of Studio Khana that I had seen in an exhibition in Cairo in spring 2019.

When we all met, I was amazed at how we launched straight into conversation, discussing and also laughing together. The mood was great and the interest in the topic was huge.

After that we met informally two more times, before I came back to Leipzig, because it was so interesting and nice to continue exchanging views and experiences.

Bad moment: Another outstanding moment was the shock of the first lockdown that hit us in April 2020 very shortly before the opening.

The participants from Cairo were ready to take-off, everything was organized and prepared and we were all looking forward so much to continue our project in a final phase together in Leipzig.

TH: What do you enjoy about your life as an artist?

GK: The freedom to deal with the topics of my interest.

The luxury to stay in a learning and questioning position.

TH: What is great art for you?

GK: I think great art is coming from great artists.

I guess a great artist is everybody who is deeply and truly connected – let´s say from the heart – with the own artistic practice.

TH: Your next projects, exhibitions. Where can you be seen?

GK: After such an intense phase of the developing three-dimensional works related to an exhibition space I usually start a very reclusive phase in my studio. I will handle questions and processes an additional time on a two-dimensional level by drawing and painting.

Exhibition slots are still not clear due to pandemic circumstances, but I will also start preparing.

One of my works was shown at Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig and can soon be acquired at a charity auction, initiated by “100 Years Alfred-Kunze-Sportpark” and the Museum der Bildenden Künste.

In late summer my drawings will be introduced by the online gallery artflash.de.

One of my projects for the future will be the organization of a real meeting of all ICP participants – if the circumstances will allow it.

Translation: Christine Lewis

Foto: Gustav Franz

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