K. Altgilbers

In my journey to find the right messages for my art, I start by searching for a basic question that cries out for answers. Many of these questions spring from specific people and places I have encountered. Issues that percolate through our larger society also raise questions to consider, and compel my art to have a socially constructive purpose. 

 

My early work used simple objects with outsized meanings, and materials loaded with concepts that where anomalies in nature. Brazilian carbonados, for example, are cheap diamonds that may literally be stardust. Distressed wood can bring its story to my story.  But looking at drawn and painted figures in so many works of art made me realize how removed humans are from their physical bodies. I began to experiment with performance, placing the body at the center of my art and creating a new vocabulary for me and my audience. Marina Abramovic’s show at MoMA left a deep impression on me. I watched her body endure considerable stress, yet generate an aura of shamanistic healing. Mona Hatoum is another influence; her early performances evolved into sculptures and spaces that challenged viewers to consider their own bodies.

 

So far, my own performances have involved physical endurance, survival, severe stress, cruelty, absurdity, and humor. I also create sculptures and environments where the viewers must consider their bodies, not just their intellect. Physicality – using all the senses and emotions – is an extraordinary way to learn from the art. I seek to convey provocative ideas through the best possible visual language so my work will be fully absorbed. Sculpture, installation, performance -- all these elements come together as my artistic and socially conscious voice. The creative process can be grueling, but it is also the most stimulating and gratifying mission in my life.

 

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