An Interview with Saskia Gall

Thursday July 3, 2014

1. In three words describe your intentions for the graduate show?

Violent, fragile, contemplative

2. Can you describe your work, your process and the vision you have for your exhibition space?

My current work straddles the boundaries between 2 and 3 dimensions; painting, drawing and sculpture.  I build up and scrape back; destroy and reconstruct, in a restless search for image, search for self and identity, search for elusive solid ground.  I hope that my show will create a psychological space of reflection, intensity and darkness, which may speak to viewers of their own condition.

3. What’s proving to be the most difficult part about preparations?

My working process is very messy so final presentation will be a factor.  Knowing when to stop making work to leave enough time for making plinths,  finishing touches and building the space is also something that will be difficult as I keep having ideas for new works that I want to get done in time- being ok with these coming later and the show being just a snapshot in time is important.

4. What one piece of your is closest to representing everything you want to say?

For me this work offers a psychological space of tension and isolation; the destruction and reconstruction of image and identity.  The use of materials emphasize the violence and fragility of the human condition, as well as creating boundaries which the figure is both fighting against and subject to.  I like that the figure and work itself are in a state of becoming- simultaneously dissolving and decaying; growing and finding form.

The ‘descent into the belly of the monster… The introversion of the conscious mind into the deeper layers of the unconscious psyche; confrontation with the shadow.’ JUNG

I think of these works as being equivalent, in psychological terms, to the Nigredo phase in alchemy- fundamental to which is the blackening- decay, putrefaction, dissolution and fixating of the volatile- necessary before the base materials can be separated and purified into the elevated and divine.  (Jung has written extensively on the alchemical journey and its analogies with the process of individuation.)

5. What unique opportunities has attending the AAL Fine Art programme given you?

This programme has provided me with opportunities for exhibitions and commissions in both the public and private spheres, as well as the opportunity to teach, which has been a really valuable experience.

6. What artist intrigues you at the moment?

The depth, intensity and gravitas of the human condition offered by the following artists in their various ways have all intrigued and affected me over the last year.

Anselm Kiefer
Annegret Soltau
Chiharu Shiota
Marina Abramovic
Matthew Monahan
Francis Bacon

Anselm Kiefer, Die bösen Mütter, 2007

Matthew Monahan, North Star Supplicant, 2007

7. What do you think you have got from the Academy that you might not have got from another college?

The Academy has given me a solid foundation of core skills in drawing, painting and sculpture that has given me the freedom and confidence to explore a wider range of possibilities in materials, scale and concept, as well as an intimate and supportive environment with some truly gifted and inspirational tutors.  In this I think it is unique.

8. What do you want to be doing artistically in 5 years?

In five years I hope to have the financial stability to be able to continue to grow and develop my work through established studio practice, residencies and active involvement in the art world around me.