EntreVistArtista Maria Felix Korporal

Proyecto EntreVistArtista (EVA) © 2009 - 2013
“Entre Tú y Yo”: Maria Felix Korporal (Holanda)

Entrevista por Rosa Matilde Jiménez Cortés
Traducción: Maria Felix Korporal

EntreVistArtista: Hello Maria, You are known as a strong woman who knows what she wants and which path to choose. What is the relationship in your life between art, nature and discipline?

Maria Felix Korporal: Yes, people often see me as a strong woman and apparently very confident. But it is not like this, I am weak and insecure. That what is strong is NATURE: that great, breathing force from which life is born and re-born. Admitting (and always repeating) that I am a small and weak being, I can feel the force of immense nature of which I am only a tiny crumb – and with the same force I can walk the life. Life teaches me which path to choose.
“Caminantes, no hay caminos. Hay que caminar” (Walker, there is no path, yet you must walk) – the poem verses of Antonio Machado (which inspired Luigi Nono to compose two great musical pieces) come often into my mind. While you are walking you discover which path to choose.
Discipline is essential in my life. I would love to work full-time on my art, on my videos, but I have to do many other things to earn the money which I need to survive: with my studio Korporal Webdesign I work as a web designer and computer programmer, and I am also co-owner of a small publishing house, Apeiron Editori, for which I do the graphic design of the publications. However these are all self-employed jobs, which allow me to organize my days in an efficient way, and to create the necessary space and time to work on my videos. "Stealing moments" I always say to myself – I steal moments from everyday life, moments that can last half an hour, but also a whole week, in which I dedicate myself to my art and nothing else.
To live a life like this takes force and energy, of course, but more important is desire. Desire is the fundamental driving power of my actions. In this context I would like to quote David Lynch, an artist that I admire: “Desire for an idea is like bait. When you’re fishing, you have to have patience. You bait your hook, then you wait. The desire is the bait that pulls those fish in – those ideas. The beautiful thing is when you catch one fish that you love, even if it’s a little fish – a fragment of an idea – that fish will draw in other fish, and they’ll hook onto it. Then you’re on your way. Soon there are more and more and more fragments, and the whole thing emerges. But it starts with desire.”
(David Lynch, “Deep Waters”)
EVA: Your passion for sport and nature, are these paths that invariably lead you to art?

MFK: Yes, sport, or rather physical movement is essential in my life. I adore mountain biking, but my true passion is running (which I do every day), and also long walks (when I have more time). Always in the open air, on the beautiful trails in the area where I live. I am lucky to live in a beautiful place at the foot of Mount Soratte, north of Rome, with a generally pleasant climate. When I run or walk I reach the maximal feeling of freedom: I feel liberated from the weight of materia and from the self. These are the moments in which ideas come to live, and enthusiasm and happiness for these ideas increase my energy even more - in short, practicing sports in nature is crucial for my creative process.
EVA: All your work is a constant journey, be reborn and die... Do you practice a philosophical doctrine in particular?

MFK: No! I do not like doctrines, these are not for me. Even if I often read philosophical texts and poems belonging to certain philosophies and doctrines, and of course many ideas, visions and thoughts attract me and excite me, I never had the desire to practicing a doctrine. I prefer to follow what life teaches me. And it is also very important for me to be able to change my mind and / or conviction, I do not like definitions and "absolute truths." Life itself, or better nature (to which we belong), changes continuously, it is an endless transformation. The idea of the constant journey, a re-birth and death, has grown slowly inside me, while living life and creating art. In this regard the video "A cat has seven lives": https://vimeo.com/9943106 was of fundamental importance.
I created it in 2008, it is one of my most important works and perhaps the most autobiographical of all my videos. The cat has seven lives, dies and is re-born. The seventh life however has no end, it remains pending. It is the longest part of the film and represents the climax: looking for the hermit, a very common theme in classic Chinese poetry, usually describing a spirit-journey in search for the sublime. The hermit, however, is not found and the sublime is therefore unreachable.
The video closes with the famous lines by Taoist poet Chia Tao (779-843): Under a pine I asked his pupil Who said: “Master's gone gathering balm Only somewhere about the mountain: The cloud's so thick that I don't know where.”

The information given by the disciple becomes increasingly vague: from the indication to the path, via deep communion with nature, towards the complete detachment of spirit. I quoted a Taoist poem by means of illustration, it is not a conviction. In fact, the end of the video is left open to all interpretations. There is no absolute truth. I believe that freedom of thought is a fundamental human right.
EVA: “Art is my life, the apparently endless walk from birth to death". At what point of the path (of this journey) are you now?

MFK: The journey of life is made up of multiple paths that split into many directions, and often take you back to previous places – it is difficult to speak of a "point", because the journey is not linear. I am rather in a zone, and it is a nice area. I just finished three important works of which I am satisfied: "Nevermore", "The god is dead, long live..." and "Specchiatura".
Finished three journeys, I am now in a re-birth phase and I am preparing a new start. It is my intention to make a new episode in the cycle Korporal Zoo, a series of videos that deal with the relationship between animals and humans from different perspectives – cultural, social, environmental. At the moment of this interview six episodes have been published in Korporal Zoo, plus the prelude "Passing By" and the interlude ". unending . ". You can see the online versions of all videos on the dedicated Vimeo channel.
The idea for Korporal Zoo was established in 2009. It is not a project in which I make the videos one after the other; in fact there are many ideas, often developed to a certain point. When I want to pick up the thread of a work in progress, my notebooks are always very useful. For many years I keep a notebook in which I write notes and sketches. Meanwhile I have a very large collection and there are times, like now, where I wander in my previous notebooks. It is always interesting and leads me to new visions, I understand better why some works have been created at certain times in my life, and I re-discover various ideas forgotten and never developed. I am currently in a period like that – so I am happy with this interview, which invites me even more to reflect and to re-live the already walked paths. It is non-linear time travel. At the same time I also welcome what I find on my way – in this period I am very fascinated by the Inuit culture and I'm re-reading Marguerite Yourcenar, especially what she wrote about nature, are very taken by the music of Luigi Nono and Horatiu Radulescu; and there are the inspirations born from meetings and from the things I observe around me, and a thousand memories, dreams and thoughts that come and go...
EVA: What is the longest path you've taken has given you a life lesson, perhaps painful?

MFK: The longest path that I have taken so far is my new video "Nevermore", which I finished on December 1st, 2012. It is an episode in the cycle Korporal Zoo.
I got the first idea for the video in January 2003, so it took me almost ten years to complete it – but it was not a linear journey on a single path, I walked on many paths instead, often interrupted; several times I got distracted and took roads that led me to other places. To put it in more concrete terms: during the past ten years I have repeatedly tried to go ahead with the project "Nevermore", but during the work in progress it has always evolved into another direction and has become another work. I would like to mention two of these works in particular: "Made on Earth" and "Timelines". Practically they deal with the same theme of "Nevermore": human violence, but the three works present different points of view. In the video "Made on Earth" the artist is the one who walks and looks, but remains invisible, she is not integrated in the story.
In the photographic installation "Timelines" instead, self-portraits of the artist are flanked by public domain images of people who suffer from violence. Here empathy is introduced, but there is always the division between the artist and the rest of the world. In the video "Nevermore" the artist is finally integrated in the story, she is a victim and culprit at the same time, she takes the human responsibility for violence and pronounces the promise "nevermore", while she is always aware of human weakness.
I deliberately use the word “artist” and not “I”. What I said in response to the first question can also be applied on art: I am nothing but a speck of nature ... while creating art, the artist must be detached from the ego. The evolution of the various approaches in the mentioned works can be interpreted as a "life lesson." I learned a lot in the past ten years and with "Nevermore" I feel in harmony, but I have to add that it is not a conclusion, there's always more to learn, there are many things to discover that can change the point of view.
EVA: What was the biggest challenge you have faced, and what action should not be repeated?

MFK: The biggest challenge was when I started to work with other people - and every new collaboration is always a big challenge. I am very individualistic and tend to do everything alone. But over the years I became also attracted to the idea of working together, and in 2006 I started my first artistic collaboration with a friend, the sculptor Marina Buening, under the name of Zweiart. Our works are visible on the site http://www.zweiart.eu/
Afterwards I did several other works in collaboration with various people, especially poets and musicians, as you can see when you look through the video page on my site. I'm a lone wolf, and every time when I start a journey in company I feel insecure ... but it does not last long, fears and doubts are soon replaced by enthusiasm; it is really a wonderful thing to create and develop a project with other people.
What action should not be repeated? In my opinion, a frequent mistake in artistic collaborations is making a work of which you are not convinced. Sure, you can create something for friendship and the joy of being together, in this case collaboration is more important than the artistic quality of the work, and you need to be aware of this. It becomes a game that can result in a splendid work, or in a mediocre product. But when the principal purpose of the collaboration is the creation of a work of art, I am self-critical in the same way when I do my individual projects. We should be honest and transparent, and be able to express our doubts and insecurities. I have learned to communicate well, but that does not mean that the error will not happen again – every situation is different, and my motto is "I always learn, and I never learn."
I worked more often with women than with men. The idea of innate rivalry and envy between women is commonplace unfortunately accepted by many men and women. Of course envy and rivalry exist, but my personal experience is not like this, so far I have always worked beautifully and harmoniously with other women, there is a lot of solidarity and understanding. Women are excellent traveling companions.
I absolutely do not like to divide humanity into a male part and a female - I feel androgynous to the bone. But society imposes the difference on us, and to be born a girl means to fight all your life. I strongly believe in solidarity between women, as you can see in my video "The Waltz"
EVA: You studied graphics and painting. Nowadays you deal especially with video art; how did the evolutionary process of the integration of different disciplines take place?

MFK: The evolutionary process had already begun during the 5 years of study at the academy, which was an important period in my life. I do not have an artistic background. I was born and raised in the Netherlands, in a working-class family not without problems. But I say this with great respect and love for my parents. My father taught me to walk: the journey of steps. He taught me to see the miracles, large and small, that we encounter on our way. My mother taught me to read: the journey through words. The words that lead us to worlds filled with surprises and wonders, to the infinite space within us. She was also the opposite of a classical housewife, as a child I could play as much and as I wanted, without caring about spick and span. As a child I already liked to experiment with unusual things, and I wanted to become an inventor as a grown-up. Thus, even without knowing anything about art, my parents have had an invaluable influence on the development of my creativity.
When I chose to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, the main reason was my "capacity to draw well" – it was a naive and intuitive choice, I knew virtually nothing of the visual arts and I did not have the faintest idea what to expect. The course in graphic design and painting which I had entered was very wide and let the students free to learn about other disciplines. So, after a first period in which I developed my skill in engraving technique, I began to experiment with the base material of the etching: I let zinc and copper in acid for hours, obtaining forms that inspired me to go beyond printing them on paper. At the same time I began to work with photography, and I was particularly fascinated by moving subjects and creating sequences.
These experiments have resulted in the two projects with which I graduated: a steel sculpture, and an animated film set in a video installation. This film was entitled "Joy to the World" and had a strong anti-war content – an ironic comment on militaristic system. I made it almost entirely with stop-motion animation, recorded on 16 mm film, mounted by hand and then reversed on video tape.
Immediately after graduating in 1986 I moved to Italy. I wanted to continue with film and video, but I did not have the material resources. So I returned to engraving and painting, but this was very useful for my artistic development anyway. I also had a small photo lab at my disposal and experimented a lot with the various disciplines. In 1990 I founded, together with my partner, the publishing house Apeiron Editori, and in this environment I became involved with the use of computers. In subsequent years, slowly my artistic work became more digital, but it was only in 2003 until I had the necessary equipment to restart with video art - and once started, I could not stop anymore and I have created one video after another until nowadays. I have not the slightest desire to deal with other disciplines such as painting or graphics.
I still have a copy of my first video "Joy to the World" on U-matic tape, and recently I'm trying to convert it to a digital file. So far I have not found a laboratory that can do it, but I have not lost hope. If I will manage to convert the video, I will put it online, and it will have a place of honor on my website!
EVA: No doubt you are a restless artist, active, with different proposals every day. Tell me about your projects, performances, exhibitions, video installations, tell me how is your life in that respect.
MFK: It is the desire, it is the enthusiasm that leads me in my actions – as I already said in my answers to the first questions. I never stay still, I always feel urge to create, to develop ideas, it is the most beautiful thing that exists in the world! And I would accomplish much more – but, as I said, most of my time I need to do other things to earn my bread. Finding the right balance and the discipline to do as much as possible of the things I want ... that is how my life is. But always with joy! I need to love everything I do, otherwise I can not resist.
EVA: One aspect that catches my attention, is to see Maria jumping for example, in a meadow of poppies or inside a railway tunnel... What is life and death for you?
MFK: I do not fear death, and I love life. I do not believe in an afterlife, eternal life is here and now, not anywhere else. When I will expire my last breath, very soon my body will be nothing but a handful of minerals that will go back into the earth again – and the “I”, this limited individual, will cease to exist. But life will go on, beautiful as it is. So I do not worry, I feel peaceful. Because I am conscious of this, I am able to enjoy profoundly the moments, the here and now ... when I jump, I enter in a state of infinite freedom. I am no longer "I", I feel only LIFE. One could say that the ego is dead in these moments: “the little death” – term which is also used in reference to the orgasm, another state of total grace.
EVA: Seeing you sitting on top of the mountain, makes me wonder: What do you think, what you feel and you want to be (and to do) for yourself and perhaps for... humanity?
MFK: I do not know ... to be honest, I almost never think in terms of being FOR or doing FOR some purpose – I just try to BE and to DO in the best possible way. In short, to live life to the bone. Being human, I feel one with humanity, being alive, I feel one with nature. Yes, probably that is what I feel when I am sitting there. And then I always feel my deep connection with the mountain, but I will talk about that in response to the next question ...
EVA: Aspects such as the family, what place occupied these loves in your life? What memories do you have of the infancy? How was your family background?
MFK: In my life there is a strong division between the country where I was born, the Netherlands, and the country where I chose to live, namely Italy. When I moved to Italy in 1986, for many years I did not have contact with people that I had left in the Netherlands – friends, family. It is only for 10 years or so that, little by little, I am finding my affections from the past and I am re-intensifying relations with my closest relatives. In some cases the affection has remained as it was, it seems that there has not been the abyss of all these years; in many other cases the relationship is based only on the link with the past. However, in all cases it is a particular and intense experience.
But the fact remains that I do not feel comfortable when I am in the Netherlands. Often I am sick when I stay there, I feel deeply estranged, and I can not wait to return to Italy. It is not just the people I love here – it is also a deep love for the land where I chose to live. I love the Soratte, my mountain, with its stones, its trails and groves ... the Soratte is a living being for me, with which I dialogue, which makes me breathe. It is a place where I do not feel limits - my runs and my walks on the Soratte and surroundings are always new journeys in which I discover infinite spaces and indefinite times.
EVA: The techniques and formats you use in your videos reveal a degree of mastery and require a certain level of complexity and knowledge of different disciplines. How important is it to know these aspects in developing an idea?
MFK: It is very important – as a matter of fact it is essential. Especially for creating videos you have to know how mechanisms and techniques function. Due to the fact that, over the years, I have learned a lot and I know my capabilities and my limitations, I feel free to develop my ideas anywhere, even when I am not working on the computer – for example when I am out walking or running, or when I am lying on the ground.
In my mind I can anticipate all phases of work, and when I turn back to the computer know where to start and how to proceed. But this does not mean that there is nothing to learn anymore, on the contrary, for each new video I always have to apply techniques I never used before, and I discover several new things. But the experiments are nice, I feel free and very sure of myself. Some years ago, when I had less experience, the work process could also be hard – sometimes I could not work things out the way I wanted, or I put too much time in it.
EVA: In your animations, the time factor is a constant, in addition to a particular issue: Maria Felix. You are the protagonist of your proposals, taking them to a well, a maelstrom of emotions... What are your limits? Why do you take yourself as part of the action? Where are you going and what you want to express?
MFK: The appearance of my person in my videos is something of the past years, also thanks to the fact that I have gained more mastery in shooting videos. It was not intentionally, but rather a series of circumstances that led me to use myself as an integrated part in the video – also games and experiments, sometimes in collaboration with friends (see for example The Teletalpies). But it is becoming increasingly important and significant to me. Entering into my works, I loose my ego. I felt this especially in my recent video “Nevermore”, as I said in my answer to question 5: I am not "I" in the movie, but I am an integrated element in the story.
EVA: Seeing the video "La circolarità della creazione", the text of Viviana Scarinci seems to have been written for you. The performance tells us much about Maria, of her essence, her nature... time and space, here and now. A central piza your aesthetic proposal, is the stone. The stone as action and representation of time talking with her, the cycles of life, of thought, the stone is your element. Where does the idea of ​​using a resource in ordinary appearance, to make your actions, something out of the ordinary? What symbolizes the stone in your creative process? If stones could talk, what do you think he would say to mankind?
MFK: The idea comes from the fascination I experience with stones. For me, the stone is not a normal resource, is a source of miracles. I was born and raised in the Dutch clay, in an area below sea level. Young ground, without a past, characterized by the total absence of mountains and rocks. When I moved to Italy and came to live here, at the foot of Mount Soratte, an incredible world opened to me. The whole environment here is beautiful, but I love mostly the stones. It was love at first sight.
What symbolizes the stone in your creative process? It does not symbolize anything. The stone is a being in itself, with a story too large to be grasped by us human beings. The stone is full of life, it is a living being, with which I talk, which I hear breathing. The best video I have ever done with a stone is { naked }, with a poem by Daita Martinez, written especially for the video. Daìta entitled it { naked }, because, as she says: "Stone is naked. We have only to open it for it to come out, alive."
The link to the video: https://vimeo.com/35604153 
If stones could talk, what do you think they would say to the human race? The stones belong to nature, to life, just like human beings, and therefore they speak. It is not easy to listen to them – but you can, when you are with them and you dedicate all your attention to them. During their long existence, the stones have witnessed the birth of humanity and have been following our evolution up to the present day. Listening to the stone is to become aware of the great mistake of putting the human being at the center of the world.
EVA: With a concept and proposal different, EntreVistArtista "EVA" has a history and origin in singular. What is the origin of your Eva? Is it a story in plural?
MFK: It was a series of circumstances and coincidences. At the beginning of 2012 I was invited to participate in an exhibition of erotic art. At that time I was working closely with Daìta – we had already made two videos together, (amarezza) and { naked } and a third was in preparation: . unending . I had read her writings thoroughly, and when I was invited to the show I immediately thought of (eva) - a sublime poem by Daìta and according to me a perfect expression of female eroticism. I decided to make a video about this poem (eva), with the text included. However, during the work process something changed, I did not limit myself to (eva), but I introduced a number of other elements, such as the orange being peeled and eaten – inspired by another poem by Daìta (zucchero filato). So I concluded that I should make the video without reference to a specific text, but dedicated to the poetry, in general, of my friend. The title, however, had to remain EVA, but written in uppercase, as an icon of the female erotic universe. The fact that the curator of the exhibition, Eva Czerkl, has the same name, was an amusing coincidence that she liked very much.
The music / sound design for the video was made by Sofia Koubli, who I admire very much – her sound language is excellent and a bit mystical, it seemed to me the most suitable for the work.
The video was well received and during the exhibition the Italian press agency ANSA has published a video with much attention to my work – I was honored, but also a little disappointed, because in the transmission the hands which peel the orange were defined “male hands”. Instead these are my hands; hands that work and that are always active, certainly strong, but anyway feminine. It was my intention to express an entirely female erotic experience, but obviously the commonplace says that it should be the male who peels, tastes, reveals the passion of women. Luckily there are other people who understand.
EntreVistArtista: Finally, what was it for you working in this project in which EVA (The Word), has brought us together even if there is an ocean of distance between us?
Maria Felix Korporal: It was very intense for me to do this interview. You analyzed my work very well, your questions were interesting and it was a pleasure for me to answer them. Thank you Rosa – The Word overrides any distance.
Rosa Matilde Jiménez Cortés: EVA (The Word), overrides any distance when "Between You and Me" we are open to communication. It is not always possible to generate a meeting through EntreVistArtista, in your case, has been a substantial and lasting experience. Thank you, Maria.
[Entrevista efectuada del 30 de enero al 7 de marzo de 2013 (vía Internet) / Colaboró para EntreVistArtista (EVA) Maria Felix Korporal / Imágenes proporcionadas por Felix Korporal / EntreVistArtista (EVA) es un proyecto independiente de Rosa Matilde Jiménez Cortés. H. Córdoba, Veracruz; México]. 

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