Lydia Cohen Catlin Guide artist preview number 7 - FAD Magazine

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Lydia Cohen Catlin Guide artist preview number 7

FAD have hooked up with our favourite guide to the art stars of the future The Catlin Guide to give you a sneak preview of some of the 40 artists that will be featured in this years guide.

Up seventh is Lydia Cohen www.lydiacohen.com

1. If you weren’t an artist, what else would you be?
This is a difficult question; it’s never a choice to be an artist you just realise you can’t do anything else. However romantic or idealistic it sounds I believe it’s something you’re born with.

2. Can you tell us more about your work and what are the main ideas you would like to express?
I work with the tight knit social structure of Orthodox Judaism. I explore the social boundaries set by this religion by attempting to place myself within it.

My practise is heavily research based, I spend my time with Hasidic Jewish men eating, celebrating and socialising together.

3. How do you start the process of making work?
It’s starts with questions curiosity and a genuine passion to discover. I live my work then question how I can capture these events, which can often be the most challenging element. Persuasion is pretty much a key element in the making of the work.

4. Do you consider the viewer, when making your work?
I like the viewer the have an experience; in my last show I divided the viewer in accordance to their gender. I danced in front of the female viewers and a 46 year old Jewish man danced in front of the male viewers the visibility to either was obstructed by a white curtain. I wanted to create the experience of attending an Orthodox Jewish wedding for my viewer, so yes.

5. Name 3 artists that have inspired your work?
It is not particularly artists (in the traditional sense) that inspire my work, contemporary culture and cultural politics are far more influential for me. For example MIA’s most current music video ‘Bad Girls’ directed by Romain Gravras features Arabic women dressed modestly with head scarfs contrasted with Western full make-up and jewellery -this is the kind of cultural juxtaposition that genuinely excites me.

Documentary makers and political activists such as Emad Burnat are massively inspirational and Israeli video artist Nira Pereg.

6. What defines something as a work of art?

Everybody has a different definition for this; I’m pretty outspoken with what I regard successful art to be and that’s something that confronts, whether its contemporary issues or ideals within society I feel it must create a certain dialogue with the viewer.

7. In times of austerity, do you think art has a moral obligation to respond topically?
Art doesn’t have any moral obligations.

8. Anytime, any place – which artist’s body would you most like to inhabit?
Somebody incredibly hot haha nah I don’t know like I previously said it’s often other influences that inspire me – I’d probably say Louis Theroux – he places himself in crazy environments.

9. What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work?

‘Lydia’s work confronts and pushes boundaries’.

Made in Arts London, University of the Arts London.

I guess I believe this was the most intelligent thing said about my work because that’s what I aim to do and if somebody else has picked up on it that’s a massive compliment.

10. Which artists would you most like to rip off, sorry, I mean appropriate as a critique of originality and authorship?

To be honest I never really have art envy, often I’ll really love a piece but I’ll never wish that I created it because it belongs to somebody else it was their internal self and ideas which produced it.

11. Do you care what your art costs? State your reasons!
I could never compromise my ideas or my aims. If I can make money through something I love and adore then DANG I’m happy until then my integrity as an artist if far more important.

12. What’s next for you?
I want to spend more time with my guys (Hasidic Jews) I have recently had an exhibition with 28 young artists in London, I would like to strengthen connections between art here (London) and art in Israel, in particular Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The Catlin Guide 2013: New Artists in the UK is launched at the London Art Fair 2013, 16th – 20th January. It will also be available from Amazon, Culture Label and selected book sellers (£12.99).



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