Multi-talented artist Lena Valenzuela performs a balancing act between clichés, kitsch and symbolism to the traditional art history. Her work revolves around the human being, especially Western white women, whose privilege she translates into her art using (self-)irony and humor. The Berlin-based artist is part of misa.art POP-UP with various works including paintings, ceramics and sculptures. Deep dive inside the mind of Lena Valenzuela!
At misa.art POP-UP you exhibit paintings, ceramics as well as sculptures. What is the idea behind your exhibited artworks?
In the current series, the stereotypical roles of the female, long defined by the male gaze, are challenged to be translated into a contemporary position. For example, horseback riding has been a very masculine pursuit for centuries, yet in our Western tradition little girls are taught to be horse girls. At the same time, horseback riding has become a privileged white sport, which tempts to make fun of it. Similarly, with the yoga images, there are also many associations to a lifestyle that is in a way great banal and therefore a great potential for use in my work.
What is your work process like?
I test the balancing act from kitsch to serious examination of clichés in my process. On a second level, the themes of the ephemeral and representations from art historical contexts play a major role in my work, so my figures often have something retro, often seem to have fallen out of time or look like ghosts even.
Lena Valenzuela, "Queens"
Do you have a routine when painting?
I have fun testing the limits of how you can show and represent something, and I don't mind failing at it sometimes. When I have an idea, I start putting it down on paper right away. Too much analysis can inhibit the process for me, leaving the resulting "mistakes" can also have its justification. I ask myself these formal questions during the work.
What’s the special thing about your exhibited artworks at misa.art POP-UP?
Most artists probably start drawing in childhood. The return to the first and somehow also the most honest form of expression requires courage, because with the drawing you cannot rely on the effect of the technique. It remains raw material in a way which is relatively quick to produce. In contrast, it takes a long time to deal with ceramics. From construction to finished firing can take four weeks and the material is very unpredictable. But that also makes it very exciting for me.
Lena Valenzuela, "Nude and a Horse"
What reactions do you hope to receive from your observers?
My works are always about a moment of surprise, nakedness and powerlessness. The wit is that these familiar emotions are tragically funny and familiar to all of us. My characters are often enraptured or isolated (even when they are together), which reflects the fragility of being human. I think the visitor can quickly identify with it.
Do you follow a mission with your works?
I hope to keep my spontaneity and lightness in my work. n times of wars, pandemics and climate change. I sometimes think that the world needs more political artists and not storytellers like me. On the other hand, it can be the other way around and humor is what makes it bearable in the end.
Lena Valenzuela’s artpieces are on display at misa.art POP-UP at Französische Straße 48 from April 28th to May 1st. Get your ticket here!