Curatorial Conversation with mixed-media Artist Diptaa Sloniir

mixed-media Artist Diptaa Sloniir

Curatorial Conversation with mixed-media Artist Diptaa Sloniir

Artist DIPTAA SLONIIR is one of those beautiful souls who manages to get inside the head and hearts of her subjects. Her travels across the globe (she is originally from France, now in the US, and on her way to Sweden) have influenced her latest body of work – how loss, memories and experiences can be captured in a photographic moment then physically manipulated with her own hand. Photographer, artist, conservationist, historian, mother, traveller, Diptaa talks to Curatorial+Co. about her name, influences, favourite places, accepting herself and fighting emptiness. San Francisco-based photographer Daniel Dent captured her in her studio.


Where do you live? What is your favourite thing to do in your city?
San Francisco, California. I love discovering new places, offbeat from the city. At the moment I love The Ramp, a strange little restaurant on the harbour, in a former industrial and warehousy neighbourhood. It faces a container ship that seems to be stuck here forever. But soon I’ll be moving to Stockholm, Sweden! So I’m looking forward to discovering a whole new city.

Tell us about your name.
My artist name is an anagram of la disparition in French. It means ‘the disappearance/the vanishing’. I choose ‘Diptaa Sloniir’ a few years ago when I realised everything I was making or exploring was about the disappearance and the absence to come (aesthetically or literally). I decided to use a pseudonym to enter a new space in which I could feel totally free. I also wanted to have a name that could not refer to any clear country or culture. This name gives me strength, some sort of roughness and intransigence when it comes to my art.

Who or what inspires you?
A wide range of things. I connect to the idea of time passing and time cycles. History (pioneers and Natives in the US), archaeology, articles. World mysteries and discoveries, physics theories. Biology, random and somehow ugly shapes and textures. Elements from daily life like a certain light, a smell, a word said by my man, or even some advertising flyers.

Where do you go to find inspiration?
Travelling away to change the scenery, or in my studio to refocus.

Describe your studio in three words.
A gate (to elsewhere), a sanctuary (to me), an embodiment (of my thoughts).

What do you love about being an artist?
As an artist, you can use as an asset what is socially labelled as a weakness (like being over emotional, or obsessive). This is very liberating! No matter what, you are here to give your point of view. I also love the depth of possibilities and views, and the crucial part played by intuition: there is no strict or preconceived rule, but more of a territory of instinctive exploration.

French artist Pierre Soulages said: “The artisan always knows where he is heading, he knows how he will create his object. On the contrary, the artist doesn’t necessary know what will happen through his working process.” Indeed, I love experimenting without any certainty on the outcome, fighting this threatening feeling of emptiness as I let intuition jump in and structure my thoughts in an organic way.

What are its challenges?
This very same threatening feeling of emptiness. Welcoming self-doubt while keeping moving on. Being the only one responsible for success or failure.

What do you hope people feel/think/see when they see you work?
I would love people to feel first and think after. I want them to be surprised, intrigued, captivated but also somehow rubbed the wrong way as I mix some unpleasantness with beauty.

Welcome waves of nothingness as much as waves of inspiration.

 

 

Describe you morning routine.
I try to avoid computer time. After I dropped off my boys to school I refocus myself, enjoy the silence, and define what day will unfold: taking pictures or at the studio.

What do you love doing in your downtime?
Road trips are my ultimate thing! I also love watching documentaries, like recently the The Cult of JT LeRoy by Marjorie Sturm.

How would you describe your work?
I see it as mix of urban, minimalist aesthetic with an organic and dreamy dimension. I also want my work to be somewhat wobbly. The idea of a slightly incomplete or unbalanced work is to me is as important aesthetically as it is conceptually.

Did you always want to be an artist?
I guess so but I did not allow myself to be an artist easily. Accepting this life has been part of becoming an adult and as true to myself as possible.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you.
Any form of separation or disappearance. Simple goodbyes, losing something, missing people, daylight that vanishes every day.

Do you have a favourite tool?
Yes, my camera. The Yashica-D is the only one I have used so far. It is a 6×6 (or 120 mm) film camera, all manual, from 1959. It belonged to my mother and it makes amazing photos. I will be buried with it!

What jobs have you done other than creating art?
Art conservation. I have a Masters in painting conservation and restoration.

Do you have a favourite song?
Everything Fever Ray [an alias of Karin Dreijer Andersson of Swedish electronic music duo The Knife]. If I had a Heart is probably one of my favourite songs.

Favourite place on Earth and why?
Búdir, in western Iceland. This is the place of memories spending time there with my man, and one of the strongest hostile yet incredibly comforting place I ever been to. I would live there in a heartbeat.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The book Letter to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke is my reference.  Each time I start to doubt my ideas and path, I read it again.

Advice you’d like to pass along to new artists?
Let’s say what I try to apply to myself: It’s OK to feel unstable and shifted. Make the best out of it. Welcome waves of nothingness as much as waves of inspiration. Be strong willed, open to critics, reliable and communicate enough.

Future dream project?
Driving up to the Arctic Circle, going back to Iceland and creating a series of big 3D pieces out of this!

I would love people to feel first and think after. I want them to be surprised, intrigued, captivated but also somehow rubbed the wrong way as I mix some unpleasantness with beauty.

Diptaa Sloniir’s available works can be found HERE.

Photography by Daniel Dent

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