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ReA! Flashback Friday with Jerusa Simone

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

there’s a very strong feminist message in it (...) it is the claiming of a place

in the art world that is also ours, not exclusively as the muse but also as the creator.





How would you describe your work in a few words?


All my work, regardless of the medium, consists of reconstructing the connection between symbols and meaning, using abstract and figurative forms, colour and texture to stimulate the viewer visually and intellectually.



Can you tell us about your unique creative process?


In my process, naive drawings often emerge from abstract backgrounds devoid of pre-existing ideas, allowing me to embrace painting as an act based on spontaneous movements and intuitive choices. Fine, informal lines give shape to ordinary objects assembled with human figures, reproducing familiar visual signs and strangeness. This process is very spontaneous, and the result is often a dynamic composition where figurative meets abstract shapes, child-like drawings, and spray lines resulting in final surrealist work.



What is the topic you are currently exploring? And how have you grown in your research over the years?


Since the beginning of last year, I've been devoted to creating a solid series of artworks where I explore more intimate themes related to situations and previous episodes of my life. Exploring such topics requires a more considerable artistic — and personal — maturity, where creating art becomes a profound moment of reconnecting with myself and all the memories, traumas and experiences that make me who I am.



Speaking of 'who you are' and the experiences that mark your identity, what do you think has changed in the years since our last exhibition together?


A lot has changed since our last exhibition together back in 2020. Being part of Rea's first edition gave me the motivation and self-confidence to advance my practice. Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to move from Rome to Zurich, where I saw my artistic career grow considerably, going from smaller, local exhibitions to a solo exhibition in Basel and a new studio, for instance. Of course, all of this comes with a lot of work ethic, love for art, and patience since there were a lot of challenges to this change.



Jerusa Simone, Headtrash (painting series), 2022.



Do you believe that art is essential for society? If so, in what way?


Society as we know it would not exist if it weren't for art. Art, more than anything, can be a form of communication; it's a window for who we are, and it shows our biggest fears and hopes, what we were, are and want to be. Regardless of its form, it's a way to connect with others and understand that we are all more alike than we might think. If we think about the information we have from ancient societies, we notice how all of it arrives through some art form. Art is heritage.



According to you, how can a personal experience be conveyed through art and challenge dominant narratives like in your work?


I believe there's a powerful feminist message in it; for instance, the repetition of the nonsexualized naked women's body is a statement for itself; it is the claiming of a place in the art world that is also ours, not exclusively as the muse but also as the creator. The creator's personal experiences nourish every artistic production; for me, a queer woman, I represent myself and my experiences in my work. This constant representation functions almost as a confrontation with the view, which is forced to think about that marginalized body and its meaning of it.



REA QUESTION

In your opinion, what are the right ingredients for artistic research to grow?


There are no correct answers for this; however, any artist who wants to grow and make a living out of their artistic practice should have, more than anything work ethic. Being an independent artist can be extremely challenging. Therefore it's crucial to stay focused, have a clear goal, and not be afraid of putting yourself out there. Reaching out to people in the art world and discussing your practice openly is very helpful; this can be scary and nerve-racking, but having a professional opinion is always enriching. This was unthinkable a few decades ago, and now with social media, we all have the tools to grow and learn.



Jerusa Simone's studio.




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