Louise Despont According to the Universe | Art21 “New York Close Up”

Louise Despont According to the Universe | Art21 “New York Close Up”


[New York Close Up] I’ve been collecting images– putting things into books– I don’t know, probably since high school. Before, it was more about coming across an image and if it struck me, I would put it aside. [Louise Despont, Artist] And then later, it became searching for specific images. Looking for specific examples. I’ve been thinking about where ideas come from, what the source of inspiration is, what that communication was about. [“Louise Despont According To The Universe”] I’m really drawn to images that are very full and very packed because I want that energy to feel strong and present in the work afterwards. Most of them come from the Internet. Some are Xeroxed out of books and some are travel photographs. These are chicken baskets in Bali. Collecting images and storing them and looking through them, there’s a large amount of it that’s unconscious. It’s just about looking at work that vibrates for you– that you say “Whoa!” that is so powerful– and you’re moved by it and you’re changed by it. Ten years ago I would spend most of my time looking for images and collecting them and a little bit of time drawing. It’s nice to look back. It’s like bread crumbs. Reminds me of all the steps along the way. What those first images were that caught my eye, and which ones still feel significant, and which ones aren’t interesting anymore. [LAUGHS] This is an old portfolio from 2009 in India. I visited astronomical observatories in Jaipur and Delhi. They’re just beautiful geometry. This is a collage I was making from Xeroxes of books on textiles. This idea came back into my work six years later in a piece that I made for Pioneer Works. [Pioneer Works, Red Hook] For my show, “The Six-Sided Force,” I was thinking about beehives– their systems of communication, their use of architecture, the energy of a hexagon. [MAN] Wow. [DESPONT] And then starting here, three hives, then a big piece. Wow. Amazing. Oh, it looks great! [WOMAN] It looks amazing. [DESPONT] A body of work sort of develops
its theme in different ways. One way is simply that, because the work is so slow to make, one year equals one show. It’s kind of just the state of mind of that
year. I am suspicious of having to decide on the
subject of a show before starting the work. The process of drawing is such a learning tool that the work will guide it much better than
sitting down and trying to make a decision. [Nicelle Beauchene, Lower East Side] For my show, “Harmonic Tremor,” I’m thinking about vibrations, sound waves– specifically volcanic vibrations that encircle the world. In terms of Krakatoa, I was interested in that one specifically because it was such a huge explosion– that the sound waves travelled around the
earth four times. A seismograph– it’s a drawing that the Earth is making. Everything is vibration. Everything is made up of waves of energy. Things that are alive have a hum and there’s a way to visually represent that. What are the patterns of an emotion? What are the vibrational waves of a relationship? When I look at the drawings and I feel the examples that are the most
successful, it really feels like they hum. That the drawing starts to vibrate in this
way where the energy has been translated in the
correct way. It’s taken on its own life. Yeah, the vibration of it just becomes alive. What’s so interesting about the creative act is that you can access something completely
outside yourself. It’s a communication with awareness rather than consciousness. You put them all up and then maybe two or a connection between four of them will find some reference into a work. And because the work is not an illustration
of a concept or an idea, there’s enough freedom to say, “If it’s contained within me, it’ll make
sense.” There will be some unifying force. If you offer yourself up as the hands to make the work the relationship you form with what
you communicate with has its own voice. Sometimes that voice comes through research
and combing through images. And sometimes it’s direct on the paper. In terms of inspiration, for some reason I had this image in my head
of an eyeball. If we think of the pupil and the iris as the
ego and the conscious mind, and then you imagine the white of the eye
as awareness– as energy that you can access outside of yourself. That’s what I think is the most exciting part
about making work, is that you start to build a relationship
with accessing this awareness. That work isn’t coming from your personal
life story. It’s not coming from your background. It’s not coming from your ego. It’s coming from some universal energy,
you know? And that relationship is so sacred. Finding what those really interesting connections are, it’s sort of playing with memory. Because I have a very bad memory, I think I remember what it is but then I’m afraid to really say what it is. It’s like the reference sometimes disappears. Then, you’re just looking at one specific
thing about it. It’s not really about it’s context anymore. [DESPONT] Should I start burning down here? [MAN] Left. [MAN] Okay. You’re good. [DESPONT] It’s really hard for it to get
through the black ink. [ALL LAUGH] [MAN] Hold. [DESPONT] It looks like a devil’s face! [LAUGHS] [MAN] Wow. [DESPONT] That was so nice!

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About the Author: Emmet Marks

5 Comments

  1. Hi there people in ART21, i really enjoy your videos , they inspire and enlighten me a lot…. i recently started following my passion for art.. here's some of my work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w81zeRwMJI.. .anyway, keep up the good work, thank you

  2. Interesting that she flipped through Outsider Art – particularly Adolf Wolfi – and that her work reflects those pieces so much.

  3. this work is so satisfying to me. the symmetry and ephemeral quality of graphite mixed with the deliberate grid of the sheets

  4. This is nothing new. Seems interesting for those who have no idea about outsider art. Most of these art school educated artists are ripping the outsiders and living a good life with all their theories and talk talk and talk while the outsider artist without any support from gallearists, institutes die of obscurity.

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