AnnaMaria Pinaka

24th Oct 2019

1. Can you give us an introduction to your practice, interests and experiences?

Hi! Thank you a lot for contacting me and looking into my work and composing these questions – the green tea is amazing!

I grew up in Greece in the 80s and 90s feeling that the consensus was that the only way contemporary art has value is if it is explicitly political. I grew feeling upset by this, and thought I was an advocate of art for art’s sake. But it turns out that one of my core interests and drives is actually the tension itself between politics and aesthetics, ethics and representation. I am interested in the relationship between art and value – ontologies of art, material and existential struggles of experiencing and realising value in and out of the art market.

Practically speaking the tools that get me going are subjectivity and identity, sex and sexuality, desire and performativity, the personal and exposure in the private and the public. My practice is on video, live performance and writing, and most recently I started showing my drawings and painting work in the form of murals.

I am also fascinated by images which endure ambivalent statuses, images that make me think, is this art? is it ‘real’? I try to make these kind of images too and to do so I work with life material (i.e. my life being or supposedly being my material). This proximity of life and art (i.e. work) rubs with neo-liberal engines of production. That’s a problem I am also interested in.


2. Can you talk us through your research and working processes? What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I am making a video with my grandmother who lives in Greece. I have been filming her for the past five years when I visit home, she is in her early nineties now. I am juxtaposing recordings of her with selfie-videos of myself some of them a bit more performative some pretty plain. Putting the two sources in dialogue I am playing with how one set of images creates the meaning of another set of images and in doing so I am attempting to force our relationship to gain a new kind of consciousness.

I sketch a lot all the time. So I am now also painting on canvases, walls, cupboards, whatever I find. I have kept my drawings hidden for a long time so that’s a new game for me, I am having a great time. My drawings come from diaristic methodologies, like my videos do. They feature basic but otherworldly figures in awkward relationships with themselves and each other.

And also now I am editing a section of my PhD writing – my chapter on Kathy Acker and Alan Sondheim’s video Blue Tape (1974) to be published (I think August 2019) at the book Kathy Acker, 1971-1974, by Éditions Ismael (Lyon, France).


3. You have a phd in porno-graphing could you reflect on the experience of having completed a phd and the influence this dedicated time to research had on your visual art practices? Tell us about porno-graphing!

I finished a practice-led PhD called Porno-graphing: ‘Dirty’ subjectivities and self-objectification in contemporary art in 2017. Through this PhD I argued that porno-graphing is an art methodology that involves the artist acting upon a sexual situation that pre-exists their decision to make art from it, with the purpose of making art. Artists who use porno-graphing actions in their works strategically work from ‘lacking’ positions, such as self-doubt, and non-sovereignty. My case studies included the works of Leigh Ledare, Kathy Acker and Alan Sondheim’s Blue Tape, Lo Liddell’s (who also goes with the name Prefix-poly) and myself. A (very) small element of the Introduction of the written element of my thesis has been published by Onomatopee (NL, 2017), bearing my research question, What do ‘dirty’ sexual subjectivities do to art?, as title.

The PhD was intense, the first four (out of seven) years I had no funding and didn’t know how to tap into my confidence either. This kind of lack of a certain brand of confidence is actually a porno-graphing element, but it took me a while to understand so. Anyhow, I was extremely committed to this project and it was a major experience to see it through. I don’t know if I can tell what kind of impact it had on my visual practice. There was a major technological shift as I was writing it, 2010 to 2017. This shift, as well as the fact that I had theorised my own work to great extents, left my work feeling somehow demystified to my own eyes. But you know this may well be a porno-graphing attribute: a particular kind of dryness or oldness, a sense of not fitting, elements of the artist’s own uncertainty for their own work. Why should we always feel like we need to be proud of all we do and all we are? Why can’t our insecurities and vulnerabilities also be apparent when claiming our places in this world? Having said all that, through the PhD I also came to love my work more, having gotten to know it so well and having witnessed how committed to it I am.


4. Who where and what has you excited at the moment? – who, where and what is causing you concern at the moment?

What gets me most excited is music, and I love talent shows especially The Voice. I recently discovered The Voice Senior of Holland and I am very very excited about it and all the participants. I love the voices and performances of singers Marianne Noble and Annet Hesterman.

I am very concerned about the rise of fascism everywhere. I am concerned that our language of identity politics may be failing in parts and we don’t know what to replace it with, how it has been appropriated by late capitalism and the far right. I am deeply concerned about how we turn on each other within our queer and feminist communities. I am basically concerned about the tricks and traps of neo liberalism and their consequences.


5. You were part of ANTI Athens Biennale, can you tell us about that and, a little about the drawings exhibited?

I was so happy to be part of a project in Greece, I never had before. I flew to Athens and spent time drawing at the walls of the room I was given to exhibit in. It was incredible how hard working and patient and kind everyone involved in the production of the Athens Biennale was – really worth commenting on. It was the first time I showed elements of my drawing work publicly, but I had been drawing on paper diaristically, sometimes almost compulsively, for over a decade. I made the mural by recomposing certain sketches with the intent to put the figures in relation to each other and to the space. I used vibrant and metallic colours to merge the child-like and other-wordly attributes of the creatures I painted with their awkwardness and ‘dirtiness’. The title, ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6’, also points to child-likeness, like counting numbers on one’s fingers, but also to dryness, a seeming lack of inspiration or wit.


7. Are there any books or authors that you find yourself coming back to time and time again, if so who are they, what are they and why? Recommend a book for our readers!

I recommend the articles, books, and social media notes of Angela Dimitrakaki, writer and academic based in Edinburgh.


10. If you had unlimited access to resources and funding, is there a piece or project that you would like to realise?

I d make a feature film and then another one and then another. Perhaps the first would be the ‘Pussy Thief’. This is a movie about a person who steals all the pussies from this world and stores them at their house. I think in my original idea, which comes from a dream I had few years ago, I play the pussy thief myself, in drag. The streets are deserted; the world without pussies is depressing. I am eventually found out and thousands of pussies stored at my special storage are freed and re-enter the world – but I am not sure yet who the hero will be.


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AnnaMaria Pinaka is a visual artist and writer based in Amsterdam. You can find her on www.chestsandnuts.club or @a_n_n_a_m_a_r_i_a__pinaka on instagram. Her book Porno-graphing: What do 'dirty' sexual subjectivities do to art? is published by Onomatopee.