Interview with Lisa Tostmann
Q: Why / when / how did you start to work with performance, what is your background, how did you arrive at doing performance?
I started to work with performance a couple of years ago, after participating in a workshop on performance art, which was part of my studies.
One of the many reasons why I fell in love with performance art is how holistic and broad the approach to that art form is - Something I miss in other fields of art.
Q: What is your process like when you make a performance, from idea to actual work?
Most of the time I start with a specific feature of a material and/or space that interests me.
From there, I experiment. I test material. I test movements, sounds,…
I always seek to create images with what I do.
In the actual performance I seek to leave room for things to happen that I did not plan or that I cannot plan – so I always try to not go “the safe way”.
The process is experimental and open and often surprises and/or scares me.
Q: What role does performance art have in your life / artistic praxis? Do you also work within other fields, like installation, sculpture, drawing, and other expressions? How do they influence / inform each other?
I draw and work in sculpture, but performance art is my main focus. My work in different fields of art does not directly influence each other – in the way that I (for example) develop performances from my drawings. However, topics that I work on occur in all my work, so in the end, everything is linked up in a way. And what I recently noticed is how my approach to sculptural work has changed since I am engaged in performance art. I keep the process much more open and experimental.
Q: With what kind of form / material do you express yourself and use in your work and how did you arrive at using this material?
I use everyday objects and explore them for their potential in absurdity and I also like to use food/groceries, because they have a high transformative potential, which I absolutely adore. I use both everyday objects and food/groceries because they are there and easy to get.
Q: How do you experience or consider the audience / surrounding? What space / surrounding do you find interesting to work in? How does your surrounding influence your work? Do you involve the public? If so, how?
I like to use features of the spaces or surroundings that I perform in and I like being challenged by the space. So a white cube would be the less interesting for me to work in. In the very moment of the performance happening, the audience is what I do it all for. They energize me, they scare me, they inspire me to do the very best work I am able to do in that moment.
I haven’t yet done a performance that involves the public in a direct, interactive way. I think working with the audience in an interesting way is quite difficult – as to not give them the feeling of being used or summoned. So for me, involving the public would always have to offer an added value for everyone taking part as well as for the work itself.