GARAGE MAGAZINE & GARAGEMAG.COM
Having previously invited FINKE to take control of their Instagram, McQ commissioned an entirely new installation from the recent CSM graduate. For their Spring/Summer 2015 campaign entitled ‘Carrara’ (partly inspired by the Italian city known for its marble quarries), the unexpected yet evocative series of images portray moments of discovery. Models Michael SHARP & Sunniva STORDAHL are dressed in McQ’s latest- a supreme diamond dusted collection of silver linings.
GARAGE TALK: OPHELIA FINKE IN CONVERSATION WITH GARAGE
GARAGE TALK: OPHELIA FINKE IN CONVERSATION WITH GARAGE
FINKE grew up in Germany with a Pharmacist father and an Art Historian mother. This interesting mix led to her own existential crisis of sorts when, whilst in the middle of applications to study medicine, she realised that she wanted to be an artist. A last minute application to Central Saint Martins saw her accepted mid-semester, and set her down at the beginning of an already incredibly successful path. Her mixed background is evident in her installation work, which mixes elements like a careful lab technician, whilst showing a deep understanding of art itself. Featured in the 2014 Art Catlin guide the same year she graduated, with a solo show under her belt and a collaboration with McQ completed, 2015 looks set to be the year of the FINKE.
GARAGE spoke to FINKE about her work, and about working with McQ on their SS15 campaign.
GARAGE: You recently put on a show with Charlie Billingham – how did you find the process of working towards and realizing a concept with someone else?
OPHELIA: A good inspiration.
G: Would you be eager to collaborate on a show again?
O: Any time.
G: Do you have a garage? If you do or if you did what might we find inside it?
O: I don’t have a garage but I do read Garage Magazine.
G: You work in a number of mediums with seemingly natural ease and skill – is there one that you think you will always return to?
O: Painting, because all you need is a brush and paint and all you can do is everything.
G:Do figurative drawing and painting appeal to you in and of themselves, or only as part of a larger body of work?
O: They are sufficient in themselves.
G: Your installations often feel like an assemblage of discarded and use-worn objects – things which have served their purpose – repurposed and made new, made uniform even; do you have an interest in the cast-off?
O: I equalise objects new or old by painting them in the same color, whereupon they preserve their shapes. Only their outer shell remains, which can be filled again with new ideas.
G: You have variously referred to your recurring puffa pieces as carpaices, icons, the protector of the adventurer…. why then do you chose to figure them too as in a moment of being discarded, cast off, often broken?
O: I think that this is simply a question of interpretation. My GP said once that the jackets would remind him of catalepsy for example.
G: What do you think happens to the power of an object when displaced from its ‘natural’ setting?
O: Not long time ago someone claimed that a urinal laid flat becomes powerful art.
G: Critics are quick to associate your installations with a representation of your studio, or the Artist’s Studio as concept – is this something which you consciously represent?
O: That’s right, they do represent the artist’s, my studio in some ways.
G: You have previously modelled for Marques Almeida – do you have an interest in fashion beyond modelling ?
O: Fashion is inspiring; it is made for the people and so is my work.
G: What made you want to model for Almeida?
O: When studying at Saint Martins, my friends and fellow students from fashion or photography were often desperately in need for models, I would help them out if they asked me.
G: You have quite a large team of assistants, which is unusual for an artist as young/ new as you – is this a necessity or a luxury?
O: It’s a necessity regarding to the relatively short time that we have to build the installations.
G: If you could would you make the work without them? Do you see them as collaborators?
O: They are my family.
G: Are they your friends or simply people you hire?
O: They are my friends and students.
G: What can you tell us about your experience collaborating with McQ on their SS15 campaign?
O: It was a great experience, a good atmosphere and good food.
G: Why do you think McQ thought you would be a good fit for their brand?
O: We were made for each other.
G:What sparked your interest in marble and the city Carrara?
O: Long time ago I fell in love with a boy that would sing occasionally the German hit ‘Marmor Stein und Eisen bricht, aber unsere Liebe nicht’ (marble, stone and iron break, but not our love). Our love broke but marble didn’t.
G: Was the installation you created inspired by the collection or the brand’s history, or simply a reflection of your own interests?
O: Carrara was on my mind.
G: What about the aesthetic of their previous campaigns?
O: They are diverse and often unexpected, which is expectable from the house of McQueen.
G: McQ is a particularly youthful brand – do you feel like your art is influenced by your age?
O: I think that an artist aims to create timeless work.
G: Did you always know you were going to be in the campaign images as well, or did that idea develop as the piece did?
O: I am part of the piece.
G: Do you think your presence as the creator does something to your work?
O: It opens it up, makes the work easier accessible, I think.
G: Is the space of the studio or the exhibition space more important to you?
O: The studio space.
G: Do you actively seek inspiration or wait until something interests you enough to pursue?
O: Inspiration finds me; it is a 24 hours aspiration of inspiration.
G: Why have you chosen to remain in London instead of returning to Germany?
O: Never ending rain and melancholia are a great source of inspiration.
G: With your installations do you seek to build a space out of objects or build objects into an already established space?
O: I attempt to create environments. My objects, forms, colors and patterns shall become the language of a new possible world.
G: People have read narratives into and across all of your work; do you have an interest in narrative? In ways of telling stories?
O: Stories occupy minds; they can satisfy people, potentially make them happy, thoughtful, things that I aim for.
G: The play of textures across your work is always very tempting, and as installations it is often immersive, would you ever consider interaction being an element of your work?
O: For sure!
G: On that note, though made up of static objects your installations do speak to and call for movement – be it a rally or through exploration – are you drawn to the dynamic?
O: At first I observe the dynamic developing between the objects and then I am drawn to action, indeed.
G: Are you working now on anything you can tell us about?
O: I’ve spent the last months in Spain, doing a residency. I enjoyed the slowed-down life and could work on paintings, which I will continue doing. Stay updated!
G: What other young contemporary artists are you excited about at the moment?
O: Everyone is an artist isn’t it? It’s all very exciting.