A conversation between the artists Lot Doms and Maria Zahle
Maria: I am interested in hearing how something begins or how the process of a work starts for you. Your way of working sounds very involved, as if the process itself is a big shape that feels very present. I recognise very much this relationship between the formal and the emotional! How do you begin? Or, is there a beginning and an end?
Lot: During the process there is a lot of movement; studies for seeing, experiments, being in different places, how to go from one place to the next. I love to observe what’s already there. It’s about finding something that reflects your views or feelings on a certain moment. How about you?
M: My works are all highly physical, not necessarily large, but the physicality or materiality of the work is always very important. The works in the show are made from paper dipped in colour, and the process of pulling the paper through the colour draws and marks the paper. I work with textiles too, and I’m dyeing my own yarn using plant dyes, which means that I’m spending a substantial amount of time outside. I take walks to collect certain flowers and plants and I grow indigo and madder in my garden. The creative process is both the physical making of the work, but also a lot of activity around the work, like picking flowers, or gardening. I’m interested in how to negotiate all these different processes that might seem ordinary or irrelevant, but that all make up an artistic practice.
L: Yes, and all the different aspects come together at the moment of presentation. My interaction with the material can result in a variety of meanings. To me, it reflects that all the senses were active during the process of making the work. It feels like an internal journey. And also a bit like eating. Or breathing, taking in the air, and breathing out new ideas and images…
M: Can you tell me more about these internal journeys. How do they end up becoming a photograph? How do these experiences end up as a rectangular image?
L: Lichtjes opgeschoven (Slightly shifted) is the result of observing an object during the whole photographic process. I was guided by the material itself. It is a collaboration between myself and the unpredictability of the machine (camera, development machine, and printer). The work is a diptych, showing a domestic object photographed with a strong light-shadow play. Several shots were taken, each time with slight shifts in perspective. The interplay of lines between the two images occurred by chance while making the first black-and-white prints in the darkroom. The left image was accidentally printed ‘wrong’ (mirrored), causing the left and right image to converge and enter into a dialogue. Most precious to me are these unforeseen things that takes place while working.
M: Yes, certainly. I am very curious about trusting this idea of chance, or maybe intuition is more accurate to me. All very loaded words! When cutting out the Ocean collages, scissors in hand, I don’t exactly know where the cut will lead to. There’s an excitement about letting the hand move through the paper. Sometimes it follows the path of least resistance, sometimes I am searching for a shape. It sounds somewhat like the abstract descriptions of your process.
L: Besides this intuitive process the duration of time also plays an important role in my work. Or the gap in time, if you know what I mean… The two images with pinewood chairs for example. Both images were recently printed but were photographed some time ago. The first shot of the chair is from 2016, and the second from 2018. These two images were selected based on a surprising discovery when looking at the developed negatives. Traces of the development process can be found in both negatives. These ‘mistakes’ of the photo lab machine happen to communicate well with the subject. Left behind droplets run straight through the image and flow into the pine motif. In the other image, a mysterious blue vertical line looms up in the dense black background just between two vertical pine bars. The (wet) analog process becomes visible and becomes the subject of the final work. A bit like your painted paper… Shapes that start dancing when being processed.