CLARA IMBERT

ARTIST

Interview MAY 5, 2020

At what point did you know or decide you wanted to become an artist?

My mother when I was about 7 lent me her camera, I remember it so well it was a Minolta XG-1 a semi-automatic.

It was easy to take pictures without knowing much and I did 5 rolls of everything I could encounter. I then started a course in a darkroom where I learned to develop and print, it was the most magical feeling, still is.

You graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2017 and moved to Lisbon, what prompted this decision?

While at Central Saint Martins in my last year, I met three other artists with whom we decided to move together to Lisbon as a collective and full of hopes and projects. After four years in London it felt like something was waiting somewhere else and Lisbon sounded like a place where we could have much more freedom as artists.

Your work plays a lot with perception of reality and illusion, are those notions you have always thought about?

I guess notions such as perception or reality are somehow always part of us without necessarily thinking about it. Perception works as a function, a primary experience: we are, we see, we perceive.

Sometimes we find ourselves in this in-between where for a second we are not sure of what we are seeing.

Here for me lies the whole intention of an artwork, to be left with a sense of reality though illusory as this moment of encounter can only happen once.

Although most of your work is very sculptural, there seems to always be a link to photography, what is the starting point when thinking about these two mediums in your work?

The sculptural aspect emerged later in my practice. I started with photography, but I was somehow frustrated with its preconception as a medium of strictly two-dimensional format.

I had to move towards a form to fully understand the purpose of an image.

With sculpture there are moments where it is almost impossible to know where the object would like to be seen from. Photography can show what needs to be understood, it is a brief moment of disclosure.

I see both mediums as fully complementary.

There is a clear architectural characteristic to a lot of your work, is this a big influence for you?

Architecture seems to have the capacity to reveal what is invisible, a space becomes a place: becomes defined. It is also a mean of construction, creating a strong dialogue between body and shape. It guides through its walls and allows escape through its openings.

Like a sensorial labyrinth of light and shadow, it enhances what we experience and acts as a delimitation of outside and inside space.

I do not see another choice then being influenced by architecture and the space one’s in. It is in the end the reflection of our own physicality.

You were selected for the very first Season of Thirdbase’s residency programme. How was this experience for you and can you tell us a bit about the work you developed during the residency. 

During my time at Thirdbase I focused a lot on research and getting to know about places where I could get different materials.

It was also a great opportunity to reconsider my practice, thinking about the roots of it and studying photography in new ways. I had the chance to work in a darkroom again, which allowed me to rediscover my love for the medium and pushed me to go deeper in the study of its process.

Due to the current health emergency due to the SARS-CoV2 virus, we’ve all had to adapt in different ways. how has this been for you, what have you been doing and are your working from home?

I am lucky to be staying with my family in the countryside.

It is a very special place and I have a little workshop in the garage where I can work on some sculptures. As the suppliers are currently closed I have to improvise with all sorts of found metal objects, mower pieces, old rusty boat scrap, anything I can find really.

A lot of the cultural and art world has been suspended, a lot of events postponed or canceled, how has this affected you so far?

I had few exhibitions planned for the month of May, and one special project in Lisbon postponed. But this is also the opportunity to sit back and reflect, on my practice as well as preparing for what comes next even if it seems unclear. Hopefully will arise a new vision and reconsideration of our current system.

What are your expectations for the near future?

I hope I will be able to go back to my studio, which I am missing a lot, and continue working. I am trying not to have too many expectations those days, but letting things flow at their own pace. The future might hold one or two nice surprises.

Thank you!