The moments I feel my truest self are always quiet moments in which our environment seems in complete harmony thanks to our in-depth alteration of our surroundings and the presence of small physical pointers of what our inner life is. Incredibly familiar to what the experience of existing online for almost a decade feels like. However private the experience of moments of spirit can be, I love the connection of those intimate experiences culminating in a joyful moment celebrating common values. To relate back to the underwater statue, it is incredibly important for me to have the work in a public and accessible setting, for people to almost stumble upon it. Unexpected experiences of beauty are so precious.
T: The materials chosen for your work encompass synthetic fabrics, organic matter, metals...what draws you to work with particular materials and substances?
G: In the same way that I like collecting dust screenshots, found objects are a fundamental part of the process. I find great inspiration in objects and the qualities they have acquired through time and the act of repurposing. The most successful piece I think is the wood harness, which I made thanks to a lady on Ebay called Kilda who collects gorgeous driftwood somewhere in Scotland. The bone-like qualities of the wood are so hard to duplicate because of the layering of time and accident, again, that brought it to that aesthetic stage. The fascination was definitely born out of necessity but it has become an integral part of the work. I guess it is a balance between actual artefacts and synthetic ones.
T: There’s also a short film which you co-produced with Matt Esselen that was screened for the first time on the exhibition’s opening night, and presents the garments from your collection. It’s such a moody experience - I’m interested in the process of co-creating this piece.
G: Matt and were interested in portraying suspended moments of emotion as a communal experience, such as the burnout scene in which a masked biker envelops the models in smoke. We started from a selection of images, both me and Matt work in an abstract way and then we pinned down the intention to make the scenes as emotive as possible relating to themes such as the sublime.
T: I love how the reconfigurable moments of the work are mirrored in the group of collaborators who came together to realize the show. There’s an online visual diary which opens up the work to visitors beyond London; the user can manipulate images to form their own associations and arrangements - it feels like it all comes full-circle with some of the internet-sourced images which served as inspiration for the collection.
G: The film shoot was definitely a materialisation of those shared moments of spirit. As much as I am an introspective person, collaboration is wonderful especially if you manage to work with a team as invested as we had the pleasure to have. Firstly, the collaboration with Underground Flower was a way to explore unspoken ways of the work I had never had the chance to because of commercial work and education. Then collaborating with Matt Esselen on the film was a wonderful experience as we silently shared a lot of the same emotive language and aesthetic pointers, brought to life thanks to Sophie Ellis and Ben Leggett who trusted and supported us.
- A precise moment of spirit: Guia Bertorello and Torre Alain in conversation, July 2021