Interview with Laresa Kosloff

Laresa Kosloff is a Melbourne based artist whose work incorporates a range of Super8 film, choreographed video, sculptural installations and real time performances. Kosloff explores how movement and gesture translate into significance in various public and studio contexts, drawing on a range of references from the slap stick comedy to high-end art.

Laresa Kosloff, 54th Venice Biennale

What are you hoping to achieve out of Venice?
To create a work outside of a familiar context and to expose my practice to a much broader audience. I have no idea about what may happen, however it’s certainly a unique opportunity. I think the performance will be quite physically and socially challenging but fun too.

Have you been to the Venice Biennale or Vernissage before?
I’ve been to the last two biennales but I haven’t attended the Vernissage before.

What is the subject of your practice?
I’m very interested in ideas of mimesis and subjectivity. I’m fascinated by human physicality, human effort and fallibility in relation to idealized or aestheticised criteria. Examining value systems within art, aesthetic formalism, the public domain, architecture, sport, and the every (second) day.

How do you think your work will translate to an international audience?
I’m hoping that my work will function on multiple levels. On the one hand it addresses the biennale environment, my peripheral status as a visiting Australian artist, and art historical precedents. On the other hand I might come across as a geeky person collecting autographs – it depends on individual presumptions. I’m interested in these dual impressions.

What preparations have you had to make for going to Venice?
I’ve had a plaster cast made for my leg, researched the participating artists, called Emirates with some questions, attended Pilates classes twice a week, and looked on the internet for people in Venice with the surname ‘Manzoni’.

Of the artists exhibiting from other countries, who would you most like to meet and why?
I’d like to meet Franz West, Martin Creed, Fischli and Weiss, Roman Ondak, Hany Armanious and Rebecca Warren. It looks like there are quite a lot of younger artists in this biennale and I’m also looking forward to seeing works by people I haven’t heard of before.

Why this particular project for Venice?
I started off thinking about the Vernissage environment and the prospect of traveling to Venice as an Australian artist. I wanted to work with the intense social dynamics of this event and ideas of fandom and endorsement. I became interested in the idea of participating in a somewhat compromised way, but also setting up a situation that might create compensatory effects, for example, the idea of being physically assisted or (hopefully!) upgraded on a plane. I was also thinking about the body as a material in art and all the artworks that get freighted to Venice.

This project has a performative aspect, how does it link to your other work?
The star of this performance is my right leg, and legs have featured in several of my performative videos. Legs are a symbol of autonomy and agency in my practice. Much of my work addresses the relational aspects of art and art historical precedents. My performance in Venice will similarly explore the conditions surrounding a particular situation and art lineage. I am very interested in the expressive potential of the body and the way that the body is a constant reminder of our fallibility and subjectivity. This project plays upon that by setting up a situation where I am both subject and object within the artwork.

After art, what else will be your priority to do before leaving Venice?
To be immersed in an amazing city, look at loads of art, and spend time with interesting people. I’m going to soak it all up!

Selected exhibitions:
Social Sculpture, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney (2011), If Sameness is in the Centre, then difference is on the periphery, Starkwhite, New Zealand (2011), Last Ride in a Hot Air Balloon, 4th Auckland Triennial, Auckland (2010), Sensible world, Artspace, Sydney (2009), In Which the Wind is also a Protagonist, La générale, Sèvres, France (2010), Still Vast Reserves Two, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne (2010), Time/Lapse, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth (2009), Fully Booked, Hotel Beethoven, Bonn (2009), Still Vast Reserves, Magazinno D’Arte Moderna, Rome (2009), What I think about when I think about dancing, Campbelltown Arts Centre, New South Wales (2009), New World Records, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne (2008), Ecstatic City Multiplex Program, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2008), NEW ’06, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2006), Brand New/Master Copy, UKS Gallery, Oslo, Norway (2000).