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Painter and Installation Artist Isabella Chydenius Talks To SA Creatives about Her Work

 Painter and Installation Artist Isabella Chydenius Talks To SA Creatives about Her Work
  1. Please describe to us your creative practice and what kinds of materials or modes of production   do you prefer to utilize?

I’m a painter and installation artist. For me, art is the most natural way to have a voice. With a background in sculptural practises such as metal welding, ceramics and womens- and menswear, I like combining multiple disciplines and experimenting with new mediums. I love roaming around in junkyards and scrap-metal yards. Back in the day when I was starting off as an artist in London and didn’t have money for canvas, I would walk around in the evenings picking up old doors and wooden panels from building sites. Even though I now can buy my own canvas, I still do these nighttime walks, the night gives all action a bit of an adrenalin kick and it’s important to remember to look around what’s available rather than always buying new.

Please list which artists have had the greatest impact of your work,  (sculptural, performance as well as analogue) and why.

Francis Bacon, Alberto Burro and Alberto Giacometti. Because of how they capture moods and forms in different mediums. I’m fascinated by distortion of faces and bodies (Bacon & Giacometti) and adore Burros arte povera material use.

You frequently travel the world taking part in residencies, how has this shaped your career as a young artist?

It’s a great way to see the world and learn about other cultures and people. Different people and how they live in their local environments definitely influences my work. It can be tough moving around and leaving people and places behind, but experiencing new things and moving outside of your comfort zone is mind opening and therefor I’m constantly learning and developing as an artist and person.

What kind of advice would you like to pass onto young artists interested in partaking in residency programs, why should they initiate these kinds of projects during their careers?

Residencies are great opportunities to focus on one project for a certain amount of time, while traveling and learning about new things and meeting new people. By doing various different residencies with different galleries or organisations you really learn to put yourself out there and prepare for an international career.

The human body plays an integral aspect in your work, how do you convey the human body in your work and why do you chose to do so?

The human body has always been most interesting to me. We all have one. A human body is the most beautiful, just imagine everything that we can do because of it. There’s so many meanings and functions, I find everything about the human body and mind very intriguing. I love that each body is different and the body language of different people. I love how moods are translated into expressions and body language, that’s what I want to express, the moods that we express through our physical being.

How important is community development to you as a creative and do you have any plans for this kind of involvement in South Africa? 

It’s very important, crucial. It is a way to get to know the people and the culture you’re visiting and give back. There’s is so much to learn from that and by working together we can all learn from each other. I find it very important to educate young kids about the effects creative work has on you and the brain. Working with colours and shapes shape a different kind side of the brain and develops another kind of logical thinking which is a too under appreciated in many school systems.

What are your plans for the next 3 months in Cape Town and do you have any collaborations planned for your stay here? 

I’m doing an artist residency and working towards a solo show at the Space Between Gallery in Woodstock. I just got here, kind of straight from my last residency in the states, so I haven’t had the time to properly look into collaborations yet. I’m very open for suggestions so do come say hi and lets get started! 🙂

Her solo exhibition:


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About Isabella

Isabella Chydenius, b. 1988

Isabella Chydenius is a painter and an installation artist. With experience in sculptural practices such as metal welding, ceramics, women’s and menswear design, she enjoys combining multiple disciplines and experimenting with new mediums.

Her work expresses her curiosity and concern for the future of human kind and the environment. She is influenced by our position and ideals as social creatures in modern day societies. Her focus of creation is the human body as well as the thought of a meta-universal existence, which is reflected in the expressions of her subjects in paintings.

Chydenius has a background in Fine Arts, painting and ceramics since a young age. Fused with her great dedication in exploring the human body and with her interest in creating three-dimensional space, she later went to study women’s and menswear in Paris. After her studies in France, she moved to London to successfully work in the fashion industry at Erdem, Vivienne Westwood and Jonathan Saunders. However earlier in 2013 her need to communicate the human mind and our existence moved her back to Fine Arts practice. Since then she has expanded her area of work to installations and metal sculptures.

Isabella has been based in Cape Town back and forth for the past 3 years. Her latest body of large-scale paintings was entirely made in Cape Town and has been selected to open the new Sotheby’s International Realty office in Finland with her solo exhibition launching in January 2016.

Life, culture and travels in South Africa and Southern Africa have had a great impact on her production due to the multi faceted cultural landscapes she has encountered. This new body of work opens up new measures of Isabella’s practice as an artist, balancing lightness within weight with a touching sensitivity to the human mind.

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