Interview with Nika López
VALENCIA, SPAIN, 26/8/17
Q: Why / when / how did you start to work with performance, what is your background, how did you arrive at doing performance?
My interest in performance art started three years ago when I was studying my fine arts degree at the university of Valencia. I had never tried performance before, but I knew that I would like this subject because the teacher was Bartolomé Ferrando. He still continues being the teacher of this subject in my native city and I'm so grateful for all he did as he helped me a lot in introducing me to performance art. He increased my motivation and guided me to improve my skills.
But the reason why I continue working with performance was from the feeling of my first solo performance, which consisted of me moving a mountain of earth from one side to the opposite side of the space with my whole body. To make this action, I impressed myself due to the repetitiveness, my tiredness and the awareness it required. At that moment, I felt compelled to do these kinds of actions and I wanted to explore more.
Q: What is your process like when you make a performance, from idea to actual work?
My process responds to the idea of deeply discovering my own intuition. Listening to my body to know what I feel when I am interacting with a natural element or environment. But to get this, I have to train my mind strongly. Meditation helps me a lot to focus on my relationship with a chosen object. However, I like to think that the element chooses me and not the opposite, as I work with instinctive and not pre-set ideas. In other words, my idea starts with a sensation and this experience of the body in a specific moment creates the concept of the performance.
This is the reason that listening is so important in my work. Listening to what is inside as well as what is outside and trying to communicate both with a gesture.
Q: Can you tell about your latest project?
My last projects are video-performances in natural environments. Since I discovered this method of working outdoors, I feel more free to connect intimately with the space. It helps me relate deeply between the place and my own body.
My last performance was called Entrance and is a single shot running for 6:30 min. When I was working on this project, I was interested in the phases of change that the body suffers through minimal gestures. But the time has been modified. I extended real time to get another reality.The detail and sensitivity of the slow-motion moments create a new reality of consciousness that plunges us into an intense journey of physical and spiritual communion.
In the video, I show the face through the twist, creating a bridge between the visible and hidden, a certain circularity between two possible dimensions. Parallel worlds that touch and almost connect. The title plays with the word entrance from English and en trance ("In trance" in Spanish). Moreover, the site-specific audio is reproduced as a loop, running in real time and dialoguing with the image. Finally, I returned to the same position as in the beginning- kind of like nothing had even happened.
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 think that performance art has changed the way I see life. This sounds a bit dramatic, but it's not. Honestly, since I started focusing more on the language of corporal movement as well as trying to make more experiences instead of making objects, I have enriched my life a lot. However, I don't work only as a performer. I have projects in many disciplines such as sculpture with organic materials, installations, photography, drawings and video performances. Moreover, I'm open to collaborating with other artists and trying something new.
I like it when I surprise myself and I really like to work with others. After all, my interest is in the relationships that we establish with things and that is open to include other humans as well.
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 like to work with simple and minimal elements mostly found in nature. I have worked with earth, stone, seeds or thorns, for instance.
In fact, I am always inspired or directed by my love of nature and this is the reason why I exclude both toxic and animal derivatives in my work. My idea is to create without destroying anything. In my daily life I care about ecology and would like to reflect this in my work.
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?
As the years pass, I feel more attracted to consider the space or what is surrounding me as a part of my work. In other words, I am interested in what is in the environment because I perceive it as an extension of my body.
Before, I was more concerned in exploring my relationships with objects, but now I am trying to let myself be overstepped by the space. I think this connects me with a part of the reality of the respective place.
About the audience, when I decide on an element, I often consider something insignificant and explore how it relates with my body. This creates a new energy which shifts common, everyday views and from this, the unimagined emerges. For example, I have a project where the act of undressing becomes a trance dance. In this moment, I believe that new dimensions are opened and new images are created that can enrich us.
Make your own question, and answer it.
Question: Could you be able to empathise with the smallest and insignificant thing you find such as a molecule of dust flying in front your eyes ?
Answer: I'm working on it.