In conversation with collage artist and instant photographer Elise Corvaglia from Namur, Belgium.
Can you talk about your journey into or interest the arts?
Art has always interested me a lot, intrigued me. As a child I loved to experiment, build, manufacture. Creating something with my hands is very stimulating. I tried the painting academy but the rules are not for me. They lock me up. I prefer total improvisation, chance or the creation of a story that I will give shape to.
Art always knew how to shake up my emotions and I need this. I am very intuitive, sensitive and I need to feel rushed by various sensations, by emotions. Art allows me to escape, to express myself. It’s my oxygen bubble. Whether it’s photography, collage, music, literature, cinema, theatre… At home, art is part of our daily life.
Can you talk about the influences upon your work?
I work on instinct. The most possible.
Dadaism, surrealism and the Bauhaus movement particularly touch me. I like chance and the unreal, the domain of dreams. I like to deconstruct to recreate my reality, my own vision of things, my feelings. But at the same time I also like the structure. In fact, whatever the origins of the movement, the important thing for me is to be moved, shaken, to have my senses in turmoil.
I greatly admire David Lynch. I feel very close to his vision of art, his way of expressing his unconscious, his artistic approach. It is certainly the artist who best translates what I feel. Since I discovered it, I instantly felt a certain connection.
You create collages and instamatic images that are both futuristic, as in they present visions of possibilities, but they are also nostalgic. Nostalgic in the sense of process and colours etc. Can you talk about this?
Indeed, space-time is a concept that comes up often. I like to imagine a different world, improved. A world in which I would like to live.
If nostalgia is so present, it is because memories are very important to me. The notion of identity is just as important. My Italian origins have something to do with it. My parents and grandparents unfortunately had to leave their land and their families.
Our family’s history has been turned upside down. It leaves traces… And these traces are transmitted… Also, I am extremely attached to my roots. This nostalgia therefore finds its place in my creations. I don’t want to forget the missing people. So, I give an imaginary second life to strangers by working on old photos.
I am drawn to black and white, faded tones. This more precisely reflects the atmospheres I am trying to express. I don’t want to let the color distract. I am very attentive to textures. If the paper is old, if it has lived, I am in heaven. I hate glossy paper!
Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic?
Absolutely! If my mind, eyes, and hands are in creation mode, I no longer think about my problems. I feel totally free. Yes, it is real therapy. I can finally express myself without barriers. I work mainly automatically, a bit like automatic writing, with the exquisite corpse. Letting his deep self, his unconscious express itself is so liberating. This allows you to dig ever deeper and discover yourself constantly.