A reminder of the environment, the landscape, the people, the movement, and the changes that surround it.
Fittingly for an artist who’s work moves in an inter-disciplinary manner between art, design, and architecture, Ayelen Peressini work has shifted from being quite organic to accomplishing more tensions, shaped through the concept of designing large scale site-specific projects through a trans-disciplinary approach. Peressini examines the common space that exist between sculpture and design, exploring the potential in the built environment at various scales. Her current creative process involves both project management and material experimentation. On the latter, Peressini takes satisfaction through the shared experience, the knowledge exchange, and the joint effort for a positive outcome. The artist is growing personally and professionally through her ambitious works, but as these get more complex and larger in dimension, the construction and logistic also does. And while sculptural installations were a frequent motif on her early projects the artist’s sculptural interventions are now in dialogue with the space in a boarder sense through her recent public projects. Ahead of the new year, Peressini chatted with us in her Barcelona based studio about her interest in architecture, her utilisation of a fluent dialogue between both advanced technologies and traditional crafts, and her thoughts on re-viewing and re-inventing material possibilities.
Ayelen Peressini (b.1986 Buenos Aires) graduated from a Fine Arts BA Degree specialized in Sculpture at Universitat de Barcelona, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Universidade de Lisboa, along with a MA in Artistic Research at University of Barcelona, Spain. She has exhibited at 10.10.10 Art Between Cities, Portugal; FAD Awards – Design Museum of Barcelona, Spain; Walk&Talk, Azores; La Scala Showroom, Girona + Bombon Projects, Barcelona; Fundació Arranz Bravo, Barcelona; Fabra I Coats, Barcelona; Centre d´Art Contemporani of Barcelona, Barcelona, amongst others. Residencies include, Espai Salamina, L`Hospitalet; Walk&Talk, Azores; Fabra i Coats, Barcelona; La Escocesa, Barcelona; Sargadelos, Galicia. Ayelen was awarded the Fundació Guasch Coranty Fellowship, Barcelona (2015); the Van Beek Donner Stichting | Piet Zwart Institute Williem the Kooning Academie, Rotterdam (2015) and Sant Andreu Contemporani production Grant, Barcelona (2015). Ayelen Peressini currently lives and works in Barcelona.
You were born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and have lived in Madrid, Portugal, Ireland and Italy before establishing yourself in Barcelona, Spain. To what extent has encountering this diversity of cultures shaped your current artistic practice?
I arrived in Spain fifteen years ago, together with my family. In 2009 I moved to Portugal to continue my studies. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work in different countries and cities, or at least, it is what I have tried. I believe movement is fundamental; a continuous motivation that allows us to know different realities and ways of life – new perspectives that help us grow personally and professionally. Portugal has given me inspiration and a change within my line of work; Italy, professional experience together with great designers, and Barcelona, a stable base where to condense all the things I’ve learnt in the past years.
From a technical approach of studying to a more architectural one or a more creative method… How do you merge these educational systems into your own practice – the precise and the creative – into one?
From my education background in sculpture, my current work moves in an inter- disciplinary way between art, design, and architecture. The basic concept that shapes my recent proposals is the design of large scale, site-specific projects and installations, always through a trans-disciplinary practice, in which I try to examine the common space that exist between art and architecture, as well as its potential in the built environment at various scales.
Given today’s availability to use technological mediums such as 3D printing for sculptural practice, are you concerned with the preservation of certain ‘crafts’?
Yes, I totally am. Traditional crafts are something that need to be valued and supported. I believe as well, that a fluent dialogue between both advanced technologies and traditional crafts can generate a nice equilibrium that helps re-view and re-invent material possibilities, to encourage innovative approaches.
A usual day’s of work at your studio will involve physically intense activities, such as welding and use of different machines, or working alongside blacksmiths and carpenters. Can you develop on your position as a young female artist accomplishing large-scale ambitious projects, in a male- dominated industry?
There are many professional women that work with large-scale projects. As you saw, I regularly work in the workshop carrying out all kinds of tasks, and collaborate as well, with other professionals when projects become more complex in scale. This last scenario is not always easy: in the past years, I’ve had the pleasure to work with great professional / colleagues (both men and women) that respected and valued me as an equal. Nevertheless, there have been some occasions where the professional relationships did not go really well. In those cases, what happened was that as a women, my voice, opinion or capabilities were considered less relevant. So, yes. It’s still not easy. Still things need to be changed.
Your time at the studio seems to be divided between maquetting in isolation and team working, amongst other activities. Can you explain us further about your process? Which aspect of these do you enjoy most?
Generally, my work at the studio is composed by different kind of activities. On one side, there is the project management, that mainly includes design and prototyping, but also on-site visits, architectural planning, contacting clients, institutions or curators, etc. On the other side, there is the work at the workshop, where material experimentation and the construction of pieces take place. I enjoy both moments. I like to have my time to work and develop projects individually, but I also enjoy working and collaborating with other people. This last part has an added value: the shared experience, the knowledge exchange and the joint effort for a positive outcome.
At first glance, we are unaware whether you’re an individual or a collective – and even which is your exact field of work, given that you present yourself through social media as a studio in the intersection of art, design, and architecture. In which ways do you play with the ‘in between’?
The “in between” responds to a trans-disciplinar practice within the art, design and architectural fields. With my practice, I research the relationship that exist between art, specially sculpture, and architecture.
The monumentality of your works, being these a factor for their outdoor/public placement, make them ambitious, difficult to commercialize, or even to exhibit – can you tell us more about the challenges you encounter through your practice, and how you overcome these?
Generally, the outdoor or public installations come up thanks and due to previous commissions. As the projects get more complex and larger in dimension, the construction and logistic also does. I might sometimes find a challenge in commercialising or moving the pieces once the exhibition / circuit is over. Some times, they stay longer / are acquired, and other times they come back to the studio.
I am very inclined in your recent site-specific project, being this located in Logroño’s Railway Station in Spain. Having this work in mind, are you interested in merging the interior and exterior through your practice?
Yes, for sure. This recent project was created within the context of Lovisual Design Festival. The proposal consisted in the design of a site-specific installation, that taking advantage of the architecture, intervened in the space, creating a new environment. The installation, mobile in height, is composed by a series of metal/steel tubes together with semi-translucent coloured planes. The piece was designed to be installed within Estilo Mobiliario, a design showroom, located within Logroño’s Railaway Station Building – architects: Ábalos+Sentkiewicz Arquitectos.
In what ways does working in the public realm excite you more, compared to working in a commercial gallery?
What I like the most about the public realm is that the installation can be enjoyed and experienced by all kind of publics. In this sense, the intervention could dialogue with the space in a boarder sense: being linked with the environment, the landscape, the people, the movement, and the changes that could surround it…
One of your latest projects involved an intervention in a wine factory in Portugal. Can you explain this project further to us?
We have been invited to create a series of art/architectural installations for the Public Art Circuit 10.10.10 Art Between Cities curated by Gabriela Raposo within the context of Torres Vedras – Alenquer European Wine Capital 2018. For this occasion, each artist was asked to create a public installation along the N9 Road – main road connecting both towns. The project I presented is called “_Common_Grounds” and consists on a group of three sculptural installations placed in different areas of the Carvoeira Cooperative Winery ́s I.V.V. building. The pieces suggest a promenade and spatial recognition of the space. Each installation values the space that it integrates, and at the same time, suggests an appropriation of the diverse relations established between scales, distances, and extensions that the existing constructive diversity offers. The pieces are inspired by the different elements, shapes, and colours presented in the winery factory.
It seems as your work has shifted from being quite organic to accomplishing more tensions. In what ways has your practiced evolved and in which direction are you heading to lately?
I must say that while still studying my BA Degree, the projects were a little more organic. The most significant changes – that I believe made my practice evolve in what my current direction is – occurred while living both in Lisbon and Italy. While studying and working there I could appreciate how “different” areas could merge and dialogue together. My interest in architecture increased tremendously, and I started to create pieces that where more related with the space and its experience: with tensions, equilibriums and structures. Nowadays, I am deeply involved in large-scale projects, mostly site-specific. I would love to continue growing, and maybe, in a near future, develop a study research in architecture.
Words by Vanessa Murrell