Interview #64

Priscilla Tea

* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).

Priscilla Tea (Milan, 1983). Her work has been exhibited at Neumeister Bar-Am and The Composing Rooms (Berlin); Preteen Gallery (Mexico City); PAC, Istituto Svizzero, GLORIAMARIA Gallery, Galleria Fac-Simile and Museo Pecci (Milan); Hussenot (Paris); Thessaloniki Biennale 4 (Thessaloniki); DAMA (Turin), Padiglione Internet at 55a Biennale Arte (Venice).

You work could be placed in a space halfway real and virtual. How can you achieve this synthesis in a methodological way? Is it a peaceful coexistence?

I believe at this point real and virtual are the same thing, in other words two versions of the same reality. The synthesis between this two spaces is something that already exists and which we live together daily, my paintings are only a reflection of that.

Being connected, at the technical level, to the technological development, how could you notice an evolution, some changes in the creation of your work over the years? Or on the contrary, did you wanted to maintain a certain independence from this more and more accelerated system?

I feel linked to the technological development only in part: it is true that my drawings are born from the screen using the more various tools of different programs and so their evolution could reach new techniques, but the most interesting part about this development is surely linked to Internet and the new information it gave us about reality, in other words its digital reflection.

I ask you the same question, about spaces that influenced your work – virtual, like Second Life, and real, like Los Angeles or Athens, for example: does it ever occurred to you to revisit them as time goes by? How this could influence the progression of time on space, in your work?

Sometimes I came back to Second Life, I didn’t go there very often but I think now it is almost abandoned is more interesting, maybe because time had humanized it, it made it a place where there are the remains of inhabited and past places, this gave it a more real appearance not like Active World but as an online space (territory).

What quality impressed you about these spaces, first of all, so much that it even conditioned you?

For what concerns the real places that influenced me Los Angeles is at the top. It is a strange artificial city, built in a semi-desert and where there aren’t codes that define places and environments like in Europe. The weather is still the same, and this give you the feeling that time isn’t fling away, but it is suspended and the space is expanded. When I think about L.A. in my memory there is a place fluctuates between real and unreal.

After years of peregrination between London, Paris, Los Angeles and Athens, in 2010 you moved back to your native city, Milan. How its environment influenced your work and how you saw it changing?

I came back in Milan because it was the place were I can work as better as I can, Milan is a city that doesn’t invade you, there are not many artists, there is no art scene, it is very quiet and this environment that could seem to be a dull one can actually give you the space you need to produce, from this semi-silence I think a strong incitement can arise.

What’s your relationship with the aspect of translation related to the difference between the precision of the immanence of the digital drawing and the more partial control in the creation stage? Is there an acceptance of the imprecision or a will of rigorous supervision?

I do not feel any particular connection to this relationship.

You participated and testified to an history, the one about “internet aware” – or whatever we want to name it – that went always more in direction of a materialization, as an object and as an exchange object inside the market, and the use of its native place, its crib (the Internet indeed) as a simple circuit for the spread of the image. I can imagine that this, in your work that since the beginning switched from digital to real as a method and theme, even though in more abstract ways, can raise so many consideration…

Artist that surrounded me when I started painting made artwork that were born and last online, like website with flash animations; these artists considered Internet not as a piece of technology but as an emotional landscape. There was a place in LA called Electronic Orphanage, a place built as a giant screen on Chung King Road that at the beginning of 2000 gathered together these artists – above them there were Angelo Plessas, Rafael Rozendal, Andreas Angelidakis and Miltos Manetas. This look on the landscape beyond the screen is what influences me the most still today, even if the post-Internet already had made a step far from there.

And personally, what’s you relationship with documentation?

Actually I have a bad relationship with documentation, I believe Internet today is out of control, I believe that the amount of images referred to the same subject drift apart from the truth of that subject as the amount of infos about it. Internet is forever and I believe it is the only existing document.