Amsterdam based artist Preta Wolzak is exhibiting her collection “I Hate Dolls’ at the Affordable Art Fair, Amsterdam, this weekend 27 October 2016. In February 2017 her latest work will be shown at The Wynwood art fair in Miami, represented by Rademakers Gallery. Here she discusses her creative life and projects with Women in Art.
What are you doing today?
I am working on my last sculpture, titled Atlassa , one from the new series “Burden” Atlassa is a cheeky reference to Atlas who is carrying the world with trembling knees; Atlassa can carry Earth and Mercury simultaneously!
Tell us about your creative process
I’ve been working with dolls for about a year now, and they prove to be an excellent vehicle for my work. While handling the dolls, ideas just pop on how to translate my ideas into art works. For instance, the sculpture Atlassa is about conventional male/female social patterns. I started with a doll, and then my intuition tells me how to work it out. That’s why Atlassa is carrying the world so easily.
Describe where you do most of your creative work
My beautiful luminous atelier is in the centre of Amsterdam. It is so quiet there; you wouldn’t expect to find that in the heart of the city.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
As a child I had a strange relation with dolls. I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do with them. I turned them upside down and used them as a paintbrush. Last year I transformed the things I did with dolls as a little child into my work. I can truly say I have found something. I can express myself completely with it.
At first there was Dollhouse, what is about the artificiality of boardrooms, with hanging dolls in a man’s world. Secondly there was I Hate Dolls, with Lulu, a plastic surgery girl, and Deborah who stands for the advertising world (“because you’re worth it”) and Joris, who is transgender.
A doll may come in as a white blond girl, and I transform it into a beautiful dark boy. The project started as a series of photographs, for which I made the dolls. But now the dolls have become art works themselves: they are sculptures, made with traditional tools and telling a strong story about individuality.
What made you decide to become an artist?
As a 14-year-old girl, I saw a big yellow wooden beam in the Kröller Muller museum. That’s what turned my world around! I thought if one can make a piece that makes people think about what is it what they see, make people wonder, make them think, make them conscious….. I was so fascinated by this piece of art, I decided that’s what I wanted to do as well.
What are you currently working on?
The new sculptures Atlassa, Walking the Molecule and Nephilo, are finished so now there are two new sculptures coming up an aboriginal rugby player and a beautiful dark girl (raven).
What are the key themes in your work?
Alienation, Displacement, Individuality, and Gender.
What would you like people to notice in your work?
I hope they recognize the state of mind that I have put into it. That people are affected by it. This can be humorous, or it can be something claustrophobic. And a touch of weirdness that makes people think.
What attracts you to the mediums you work in?
At the moment I like working with dolls because they are defenseless victims of my disturbing art! I can transform them into something they were not meant to be. I can force them to be on my side. The power in the individual.
I like working with traditional materials, but in an unconventional way.
What equipment could you not do without?
Who or what inspires you?
A candystore, toys, reptiles, Björk, Scotland, Eddie Izzard, Grayson Perry,
How does gender affect your work?
I am still fighting with dolls. I hated them as a little girl. I wanted to build something from wood, or stones. So right from the start I have been struggling with the difference between how a girl and boy are raised. And still in this time things are so unsatisfying! For instance: Lego, which was my favourite toy as a child, nowadays they have invented “Belvilla Lego”. It is pink shitty Lego that leaves nothing to invent. Just because you are a girl there must be pink Lego?
What’s your favourite gallery, or place to see or experience art?
Tate St Ives (UK), Decordova Museum Lincoln MA (USA), Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill NY (USA).
It is the combination of nature, architecture and art that makes it great.
If you could own one piece of art, what would it be and why?
A Wilder Mann from the series of photographs of Charles Fréger. It’s reality but the appearance is weird. People’s imagination is surreal.
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be, and why?
I think a Japanese or Korean artist, because of the combination of their traditions and the modern world. Or an artist from Iceland, because of the isolated world of the Icelandic.
What’s your favourite colour?
Pearl, and anything fluorescent.
Follow on Instagram: @pretawolzak
Facebook: Preta Wolzak