This is 5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in Under the Radar, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from Irina Raffo.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
If I have to point out something in particular and put it in words (which I find extremely difficult as I cannot grasp a clear and determined intention throughout my work), I would say that I do my best to share with others this strange and particular feeling I face towards my own perception of time: how it relates to our memories and our own history, how it relates to and pins down our lives. I try to reveal a sort of strange and uncomfortable feeling I get when perceiving life moving forward, seeing life’s irreversible direction—a fast train that moves non-stop. While I see this strong and heavy machine moving almost miraculously, I do what I can, what I am capable of. Then I take photos to capture certain images or experiences; I write down ideas provoked by everyday life details; I make films as if I were named for a sort of rescue operation. I suspect it is all about cheating time.
Intermittence, 2018, Video installation
What is an artist’s responsibility?
Stay sharp, no matter the circumstances. Use all we know to get a better understanding of things. Be awake. Look at things with awe, as if it were for the first (or the last) time. Pay attention to things that surround us and always nourish a critical spirit. Be curious and always ask: why?
I believe we are capable of appreciating things we do understand, things that we know (or we would like to know) to a certain extent; so somehow, it is always good to move deeper into things, into their most hidden expression, so we can appreciate them a bit more.
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
Family interiors, Eva Serie, Untitled 01, 2015, 6 x 6 black & white film | gelatine silver prints
This photo is one of the first images I took thinking about going beyond the act of photographing what I saw, taking into consideration what is hidden under the surface, thinking about its beauty and what that means. I see this image as the source for most of the work I have developed since. This picture reminds me of this first encounter with something that goes beyond what I expected. For me it talks about how something little and simple can lead us to greater things or to more complex work over time. It was the first picture I took that I really felt proud of, which gave me the strength and the confidence to keep working on a personal body of work.
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
If I have to fly high and defy time and the rules of fate, I would love to work on a film with John Berger. I imagine a fixed shot of him looking at the camera for minutes, and then just the view of his dream place. Then a main sequence where we follow him into the woods. A nice and endless walk along with him. I adore him. He is not with us anymore.
Family interiors, Eva Serie, Untitled 03, 2015, 6 x 6 black & white film | gelatine silver prints
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
—The ArtSlant Team
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(Image at top: Intermittence, 2018, Video installation)