Interview with Namsal Siedlecki – Museo Apparente

NERO is pleased to present an interview with artist Namsal Siedlecki about his current exhibition in Napoli at the Museo Apparente gallery.

Namsal Siedlecki is a Turin-based artist currently exploring the complex relationship between human and animal expression. In Group Show Siedlecki juxtaposes his own sculptures with paintings done by animals that he has collected over the years in order to understand the dynamics in which the animal imitates the man and in which the man goes back to being animal.  Enjoy!

Can you briefly describe what and who will be included in your show, Group Show?

For this occasion, I displayed along with my own sculptures two drawings by Pablo Pig-casso (a pig, on his website you can download his Pork-folio), an acrylic on canvas by Pockets Warhol (a monkey), and an oil on canvas by Billy (a dog).

When did you start collecting works painted by animals and what inspired you to do so?

A few years ago I saw, in a natural history museum, a picture painted in the 50s’ by a chimpanzee named Congo, who had a remarkable success at the time, his works being collected by Picasso and Miro. The idea of paintings made by animals fascinated me. Slowly I started to collect them, coming to possess paintings by various animals. For a while I was thinking about a project to present alongside with my collection, a group show.

What is the relationship between the sculptures you present in the show and the animal’s paintings?

It’s as if the animal evolves by painting, developing innate skills as a painter,  human-induced yet still unpredictable. I am interested in understanding the dynamics in which animal imitates man and those in which instead it is man that goes back to being animal. The clay sculptures, clay being an exemplary prime matter, highlight the ancestral relationship between the earth and man. It makes man regress, bringing him  back to his origins through a physiological experience. Biting into that primary matter man models and feeds on his own roots.

Another aspect that ties the sculptures to the paintings is the clay’s ability to change chromatically, it’s as if it adapts to the context, blending slowly like some camuflaged animal. The clay color changes until it develos into that shade of the cement on which it is resting.

How would you describe your artwork’s relationship with nature, from the use of natural materials (salt, clay, shell, bronze) in your previous sculptures to your collaboration with animals?

Approaching life from the inanimate world seems like a natural transition to me,  the natural elements, the materials at a primary state have the spark of life in them, they are what came before us, that which witnessed the emergence of life. I believe that analyzing the materials that make up reality allows one to deconstruct the sculpture until one gets to a very primary stage. I believe that every natural element has life in it, sculptures that change over time, I like to think of objects that are changing day by day, of animals that adapt. The circle of life. The animal interacts. Living beings whether they are clay, tree, or a parrot all hold deep within themselves that spark that unites us .. All connected, in the same boat.

Do you find it controversial to teach animals a human activity or to anthropomorphise their creative expression?

In presenting these works made by animals I’m interested in tackling the controversial relationship we have with the animal world. Our evolution as a species has always been accompanied by the exploitation of other species. In this work with my sculptures I tried to explore my animal nature while animals with their work try to get the approval of man.

 [Interviewed by Abigail Lewis]
Museo Apparente –Vico Santa Maria Apparente 17, 80132 Napoli
Opening March 1st – April 2nd 2014