A Year in Interviews

As the end of the year approaches, we’re looking back at some of the fantastic interviews we’ve featured in the last six issues of the magazine. In 2023, we talked to multimedia artists and photographers such as Aïda Muluneh, Isaac Julien, Nadine Ijewere and Refik Anadol. Their ideas are pushing conversations forward surrounding perceptions of beauty, the climate crisis and the impact of new technologies.

“I am interested in the conversations that can be enlisted by returning to historical texts and allowing debates to reverberate in contemporary settings. For example, the acquisition and appropriation of cultural materials remains an important and controversial discussion a century later.” – Isaac Julien

“My work shows that beauty is multi-faceted. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and these standards shouldn’t be limited to a particular ethnicity or age group. (…)  I grew up look- ing at fashion magazines and thinking, “There’s no one that looks like me, my family or my friends.” I asked myself, “Why is that? Why can’t I take pictures like that?” I wanted to redress the balance through my work and to reframe misconceptions, as well as creating a space to elevate women of colour.” – Nadine Ijewere

“Nature is always around us, and we can receive strength from the outdoors. The mirrors reflect the sun, merging the outside energy that comes from inside us. It is a symbol that sums up a whole group of ideas. At its best, photography, like other languages, can help us process and digest life.” – Federica Belli 

“Data is more than numbers. I look at them as memories, as the meaningful clusters of important moments transformed into digital entities and stored in the mind of a machine. When we focus on collective memories, we find something we all care about. I am captivated by the intersection of solid architecture and intangible elements. All my work bears the traces of this fascination.” – Refik Anadol

“Colour is a language. I use it to speak to people in the same way I would with words. I have a multi-dimensional approach to everything. I never relate to one thing, but to the many parts of who I am and my personal life experiences. The palettes evidence various states of emotion – either singular or collective. Each shade reflects a mental state.” – Djeneba Aduayom

“We all have an immediate connection with flowers. We connect them to Valentine’s Day but also to memorials and graves – they relate to such a broad range of our emotional experiences. From the very early days until now, flowers have performed a significant role in visual art. There are so many ideas that can be played out very subtly through their use: historical, political and ideological questions.” – Ori Gersht

“I simply share my own experiences and thoughts related to being a woman. Each piece serves as a visual diary, offering an intimate glimpse into my conscious and subconscious selves.” – Aïda Muluneh

 “I come from a family of scientists, which has influenced my work and inspired collaborations with other researchers. I’m inspired by spiders and the concept of webs, and for many years have encouraged galleries to recognise spiders as artists in their own right. I find it interesting that they produce complex geometries yet are not able to see them because of their very poor vision. It’s a  process – almost like synaesthesia – of being able to perceive something through other senses rather than sight alone.” – Tomás Saraceno

“To create real and significant change in the face of the climate crisis there needs to be a culmination of action across the breadth of society and its different sectors. We must unite behind a shared intention to tackle these momentous challenges together. The power of art and photography can be found within its contribution to this conversation. I try to affect change by using beauty to raise difficult topics. People might switch off when they feel overwhelmed by the size of the problems we are facing.” – Tamara Dean

“Human relationships with trees go back as long we have existed. They have provided us with food, shelter and safety but also a sense of the unknown. When we enter forests, the air cools, time seems to slow and we are transposed into a more animal state – where all our senses are heightened and we are more aware of ourselves. Woodlands can be breathtakingly beautiful, full of space and light.” – Ellie Davies

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Image credits:

1. Isaac Julien, Almas belas, almas menos belas / Beautiful Souls, Less Beautiful Souls (Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvellous Entanglement), (detail) (2019). Endura Ultra photograph facemounted. 180 x240x7.5cm.707/8×941/2x3in. Edition of 6 plus 1 artist’s proof. © Isaac Julien. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro.

2. Nadine Ijewere, Untitled (detail) (2019). From Nina Ricci SS20 #futurestartsnow. Courtesy of the artist and Nina Ricci. Model: Scarlet Peguero. Creative Direction: Rushemy Botter & Lisi Herrebrugh. Makeup: Genesis Read. Hair: Cuchi Sanchez.

3. Federica Belli, The Connection, (2020). From All the Light We Cannot See.

4. Refik Anadol, Machine Memoirs, Space 05, (2022). © Refik Anadol Studio.

5. Djeneba Aduayom, Untitled for The Cut Magazine, (2019).

6. Ori Gersht, Blow Up 04, (2007). Courtesy of the artist.

7. Aïda Muluneh, Unfilled Promises, Water Life Collection, (2018).  Commissioned by WaterAid.

8. Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2006

9. Tamara Dean, Night Garden. Image courtesy the artist.

10. Ellie Davies, Fires 7, (2018). Image courtesy the artist.