Tove Kleist in conversation with Elena Tzotzi

E.T: Why have you chosen to work as an artist?

T.K: I feel that visual language is important. It has a different set of functions than the spoken/written word. It contains other possibilities and limitations; the image focuses on a different kind of experience. I question the image and how it is displayed, but not the basic concept of the image. I want to develop my own take on visual language. Paradoxically, I feel perhaps like an author, who also develops their language without questioning the use of text in itself. I am glad that there are images (space, line, smudges, etc) and I connect to them. The practical/physical side of work with images means something to me. Working with ones hands, is important in communicating with oneself in a certain way, which for me is often the foundation for being able to show my works to others.

E.T: Can you say something about what fields of interest your works stem from?

T.K: Some activities fascinates me, and the places where these activities happen, different sorts of spaces/rooms – rooms in a general rather than in a defined sense. Spaces in which our internal activities are in some way balanced up by the external. In my two most recent works; The fairytale and The garden I have worked with rooms of this kind.I have attempted to recreate these rooms or spaces in the exhibitions – they have mainly included drawings that have been presented alongside different objects etc, in a kind of installation - with the ambition of displaying this kind of activity.
Inside us, thoughts and whole spectra of feelings gather and collide simultaneously at singular occasions or moments in certain situations. This special simultaneity that takes place in our consciousness and how it is then contrasted against our surroundings (landscape, rooms, other people etc) is important for me to get a grip on. On such occasions or in such states, we sometimes need tools and perhaps a method to sort out what is happening. Words are of course, one such tool. Language has a logic that allows us to name and identify problems and possibilities. Images are also tools for formulation, but work in a different way. An image does not describe, but shows, points out, demonstrates. Where words are forced to spread themselves temporally, the image is almost instantaneous. Many things happen in the same moment and we can move freely in all directions. Visual language has therefore direct parallels with how we perceive reality in a way that bears the mark of the now.
Poetry is perhaps the text form that is best suited to suggest this sense of the now. In an image it is actually happening. The image says something about the nature of things without losing hold of the moment in which everything happens. The image allows us to linger there. It is that moment that interests me, the presence, the instantaneousness within that one moment - that which is actually happening.
Visual storytelling helps me to approach reality. There is a ghostly quality, that I want to make use of in my images. A new variation or aspect of a particular event or circumstance is always lurking round the corner and they are haunting each other.


E.T: Has your view on your role as an artist changed or developed during your time at the university?

T.K: Maybe it hasn’t changed a great deal, but it has become clearer. When I think of my role or position, it feels busy and restful at the same time. When you study with like-minded but very different people, it becomes obvious that there are many individual artistic roles. They are related but all have different fields of interest, methods and ways of presentation. Confidence in my own position as an artist has thereby been strengthened and developed; I am a character among others. I make images from my own experience and reflections.

E.T: How do you see your career as an artist in the future, how do you view the artist’s role in society?

T.K: To display images is of course a way of wanting to share or discuss ones point of view with others. There are many artists, and the roles are transitory and changeable. We, simply, investigate what it is to be human, with our own personal experience as a base. It is therefore important to be impartial, not to be led or steered by others and their interests.