Interview – Melina Airaudo – Belgrade Art Studio Online Residency


How did you start getting interested in arts? What motivates you to create?

I have always been interested in arts and never hesitate to do it. In my childhood, I grew up in the middle of art; I went to a highschool orientated in arts and my older sister (19 years older than me) is an artist too, so I was impregnated with art from a very young age.

Nature is definitively what motivates me to create. The landscape, the way that plants grow and the stones occupy the space, the sounds of silence in the desert. All the experiences of entering a landscape, of feeling surrounded by it.

What are your main influences and how do you approach your subject matter and colour palette?
My main influence is argentinian artist Irene Kopelman, I feel so represented in her work and the way she produces. I prefer to use the word intertextuality instead of influence or referent, because I think all we see, everything we put our sight on, automatically crosses our way of thinking, of producing, building a new way. So, it is not that someone or something inspires us but it is a new element that is added to the network of thought.

About the color palette, I have none jajaja. I work on black and white when it comes to drawings. And the times I worked with objects, most of the time they were white or gray or black. I always feel that black and white can better represent my intention.

And about the subject, trying to imitate the landscape, I don’t use just one technique. I jump between different forms of art depending on what I want to show or say. That’s why I consider myself a contemporary artist, I expand myself on the field with no limitations. Photographs, videos, drawings, objects, installations, textil, exploration is always welcome.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

I started the landscape subject in 2017, since then I was exploring the relation between the concepts of topography (the description of a real, existent, touchable place) and topothesia (the proposal of a non-existent place). How to transform an image through fragmentation to separate it from the object of representation. Back then most of the works were abstracts. I thought that this project was over, but now I realize that everything I’m doing today is strongly related to it, that’s why I continue to bring it back when someone asks me this question.

I focus on the experience of being in the middle of a landscape, the figure of the walker, who walks adrift, expecting to find whatever nature wants to show, with the senses wide open. Right now I’m doing mostly drawings, and that concepts, I think, appear in the way I draw, paying all my attention to very small details such as changes of light, stains, shapes, and without seeing the whole image unless I walk away, same as landscape.

To what extent does the pandemic influence your depiction of art? Does it generate new inspiration?   

I don’t really think it does. The truth is that here where I live, we didn’t feel much confinement.  I live in the Sierras of Córdoba, on the mountains in a very small city, so we have big backyards with the mountains in view, and I think I’m an hermit jajaj, so I was ok in the pandemic.  The only part of my work that was affected was that I made much of my works inspired in travels,in new landscapes, so I changed my point of view and start to look as an outsider my everyday landscapes, and also started a project in 2020 that it’s called Instructions to build a landscape in confinement circumstances that is about of making an installation with bean size clay balls that I did (and do) everyday as a mantra, with the objective of building a new landscape. 

How do you feel about being involved in an online residency program? How important is it to stay connected with the international art community?

I feel very happy! It’s the first time I do an international residency and I have been waiting for this for a long time, but I think I didn’t feel confident with my work before, so I never tried.
I think the most important thing in the art field is the networks we do with other artists. It is in the exchange with other people when we move, when we grow up, when we can create, like I said before, the intertextualities are what really matter.  And the possibility that these exchanges are internationals it’s even more important, because of the different points of views, cultural ways to make art, to understand art, and to communicate it.

What are your thoughts about the theme ‘artist on standby’? Tell us a bit more about your project…

In Argentina we use the expression Stand By as being in pause, like suspended, like floating in space (estoy en estánbai) so I thought of using it like taking a pause from my regular work and getting way out of my comfort zone. But  I was a little extreme (like always) and I don’t think I’ll be able to do my project in the residency term, so maybe I’ll do two projects in parallel. My project idea is to make music through a drawing, something like what’s the sound of a landscape when it gets through perception, and to do that I have to use programs I’ve never used before and I’m not finding any kind of tutorial to help me do it. I will do it, only I don’t know how much time it will take me, that’s why I think of making something else more controllable such a video performance or something like that.

What do you want to achieve before things return to normal if it is to happen? Any future plans/projects?

I didn’t really think about this. I think things are returning to normal slowly and I feel I’m moving with this process. The pandemic era coincided with the end of an important stage to me. I graduated from National University of Córdoba a week before quarantine started. Before that, my mind was set on finishing the career, so my perception as an artist and the thoughts of how I wanted to get involved in the field started at that moment. And I think, in a way, since then I’m making steady progress, and my plans are to continue like this, I really want to be able to travel with my artistic work and broaden my understanding of artistic practices.