The Space of Thoughts II

Artist Talk // Qwist Joseph & Maja Radanović // Moderated by Alex Priest

February 20, 2016

Alex: Both of your work practices relate to perceived realities. Did you see any revelations of perceptions based on your collaboration here at Darger? For example, the perceptions of the sausages and the reality that this space used to be an Italian Market.

Qwist: Yeah, totally. I have never made site-specific work, and I think because of the context of this space and its history it was important to create something that made sense to that.

Alex: And the gun shot piece, there has been some recent press whether it be negative or positive about the shootings in Omaha. It makes the piece quite timely.

Maja: This piece is quite site specific. It wouldn’t make sense for me to make it in Canada.

Alex: What was one surprising thing that happened with your time together?

Maja: There were so many things that just clicked. In regards to finding material and how to hang, or how to produce it. It just seemed like they were just there for us, somehow.

Alex: Well, when we went out to eat, it was as if you two have been friends for years.  Rather than just recently met.

Qwist: Yeah. We have a very similar sense of humor. And we both have this level of comedy in our work that is subtle, but important to it. And this space is beautiful and amazing, but has this white-washy HGTV flip to it. And it worked so well with our work.

Maja: Looking back, it seems a pity that I brought finished work because it felt so much better to create the collaborative work in the space. Because it is so inspiring and so crazy. It is very inspiring to create work because of the space.

Qwist: It seemed like we were more excited to work on the collaborative things than we were on installing the other work. We spent so much time on the collaborative work that we had to rush and put up the rest of the work.

Alex: Is there a take-away that you would like the viewers to have?

Qwist: I think there is a beautiful subtly in our work and there is not a super clear answer. It is more of a continued conversation and that you bring your own personal experiences to each of the pieces.  

Alex: Those are all of my questions. I wanted to open it up for the audience to ask some questions.

Audience question: I am curious about the procedure of the sausages. They look really delicate. Tell me about the construction and placement of the sausage sculptures.

Qwist: I knew I wanted them to be in the kitchen, to reference the food obviously. They are clay ceramic fired pieces and then there is a rope. then resin is poured over the strings so it affixes to the forms. It just worked out so well that there are these reinforcement plates on the ceiling beams. And Maja is so spacially talented that she helped me lay them out.  

Audience question: And what about this piece? (Pointing to Drip.)

Qwist: This is a wet clay piece. The lightbulb was broken on the fixture and we wanted to create something with it…a physical light spillage coming out of it. It is a lively piece…not quite sure what it is yet.

Alex: It is humanistic.

Maja: Absolutely, and feminine. 

Audience question: How do the saturated colors in your photography add to the storytelling?

Maja: That series is called Dreamland. It is about me coming from Serbia to Canada. It deals with the idea that you expect a better life, and it wasn’t of course, for two years or so. It is just me trying to live this fairytale, it is my therapy, escape, so it is not real, the colors are not real.  It is just you, and everywhere you go, there is no Dreamland.