Arta Raituma

The Dark Night Peeled and Glowing
Spirit of Nature

Tell us about the works Art Gazette has acquired from you

Art Gazette has recently acquired my works made of burnt and painted plywood panels. I see a poetic contradiction between fire and wood; a symbolic collision of death and life, an enchanted alchemy. They are an important part of my artistic practice, and each piece is very dear to me.

What inspires you?

Most importantly it’s nature. My creations are directly influenced by exploring organic shapes and patterns. There is no better place to clear my head than walking in a forest or along the ocean. Also, I feel truly inspired every time I do fire juggling. The sound of flames hissing in the air is powerful and mesmerising.

Would you describe your process as chaotic or methodical?

I am quite methodical during the making process and feel there must always be an aesthetic order. That’s probably why my favourite shape is a square, which I tend to use for my plywood works. As I work with the elements, attempting to fully control visuals done by fire is destined to fail. Therefore, I am always open to the ‘chaotic’, or better, the ‘unpredictable’ results. In general, it’s a balance between method and experiment.

Who are your top artistic heroes?

Frida Kahlo. She’s an example of pure courage and willpower, showing that even a severe physical trauma can’t stand in the way of making art.

Marina Abramović. I won’t comment, instead I simply suggest reading her autobiography ‘Walk Through Walls: A Memoir’.

All the young emerging artists that I know. These changing times are tough, and the art world is already full of artists. You’re all very brave for creating, failing, and not giving up on following your calling!

Seven Heavenly Palaces, Anselm Kiefer

Which exhibition has left a lasting impact on you?

Anselm Kiefer’s ‘Seven Heavenly Palaces’ in Milan’s ‘Hangar Bicocca’.

It’s stunning because of its enormity, but also the apocalyptic, unstable feeling it evokes. It felt so sublime. When I visited, a little girl in a pink dress was running around the concrete ‘towers.’ This playful contrast is forever imprinted in my mind.

What excites you about the art scene where you live? 

I am currently living in Lisbon and the art scene is one of the biggest reasons why I moved here. I love that there are a lot of new artist-run spaces and as a foreigner it is relatively easy to enter the scene. Lisbon is not as crowded as London or Paris yet there is so much going on culture-wise. It’s good soil for an emerging artist.

Ripplestone Salt

Select one work you admire from the Art Gazette inventory

I totally love everything Nika Neelova makes, but especially her ‘Ripplestone’ series.  The work is simple yet striking - I get the urge to dive through my computer screen and slide my fingers all over the piece. 

Are you involved in any art initiatives or collectives? 

Yes, I am! Last May when I lived in Riga, Latvia, I organised several home studio-visit days with my flatmate and artist Linda Vilka. Because of the lack of ongoing cultural events, Linda and I founded an artist-run-space called ‘Riga’s Highest Gallery’. Originally located at my house in Riga, we recently moved online and are planning to exploit the concept of a ‘parasite gallery’ – curating exhibitions in other cultural spaces. We also participate in an art event initiative ‘Riga Last Thursdays’ together with 12 other Latvian contemporary art galleries.

Nr. 6

Who should we all be following on Instagram? 

Phoebe Cummings, @phoebe_cummings. Her Instagram feed is like balm for the soul.

Why do you choose to work with Art Gazette?

Because of their caring and personal approach, such clear and kind communication is extremely valuable. Also, it’s a financial support to my everyday practice.

The Ivy That I Noticed Climbing a Wall

If you weren't an artist, what would you be and why?

Probably a writer.

There’s a lot of written text behind my practice, which I tend to leave as the hidden yet crucial part for the development of works.

If you could be transported inside any artwork, which would it be and why? 

Oh, I would love to be trapped inside any painting of a surrealist such as Dali or Leonora Carrington. It would be like a parallel dream world where anything crazy can happen. I could befriend all those weird characters and persuade them to come out and attend some exhibitions with me.

Evening Conference, Leonora Carrington