Swamp of the Subconscious
Find out how a picture of a swamp became significant for the acclaimed Israeli artist Yehudit Sasportas. She here discusses a selection of her work, and argues that finding the images that inspire is a matter of following your subconsciousness.
The image of the swamp, which is recurrent – physically as well as metaphysically – in Sasportas’ work, came to her when she was on a train where a woman sitting opposite her was reading a newspaper with a picture of a swamp. The image attracted her in a special way, which Sasportas attributes to the sensitivity one develops as an artist: “You start putting more and more attention to this magnetism – like what kind of images attract your attention and why?” Sasportas began to research the image, which finally brought her to the swamp in question. In order to be able to gain access to it, however, she had to pretend to be a scientist, which finally allowed her to explore its many layers: “It felt for me like the perfect visual representation of something that was not fully integrated in the subconscious field. And you have the possibility to encounter this on a visual level.”
“You’re in and out at the same time.” Sasportas’ method is to try to create a space in which you activate your intuitive part as well as your analytical part, and the part that contemplates as well as the part that participates: “You create kind of a broken language.” Sasportas explains that she works on a “vertical line” as well as on a “horizontal line”. The horizontal line is what can be seen, whereas the vertical represents going down into your subconsciousness: “It’s kind of an elevator of consciousness that can take you down to your dream area. To all the areas that you cannot really control.”
Yehudit Sasportas (b. 1969) is an Israeli artist, who uses a range of media including drawing, painting, video and installation. In the 2000s her work began to include images from nature – mainly landscapes such as forests and swamps – and around the same time she also began to explore the field of video. Among several awards, she has received the ‘Ingeborg Bachman Scholarship’ for her work in 1997 and the ‘Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation Prize’ in 1999. Sasportas has held solo exhibitions in prominent venues such as The Berkley Museum of Art in San Francisco (2002), the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), where she was the representative of Israel, Kunstverein Braunschweig in Germany (2008) and Israel Museum (2013). She lives and works in Berlin and Tel Aviv.
Yehudit Sasportas was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in April 2015.
Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Produced by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen and Kasper Bech Dyg
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015
Supported by Nordea-fonden