„As Miss Van herself - girl and not yet women, full of ambiguity - the characters evolve in an imaginary universe full of colors, erotism and voluptuousness.” (Magda Danysz)
opening Wednesday, the 7th of June 2006, 7 pm
wellcome speech: Dr. Carine Delplanque, director French Institut Innsbruck Tyrol
opening speech: Sabine Gamper, ar/ge kunst Galerie Museum Bozen Italy
miss van, who is she?
text and interview by Magda Danysz Gallery, Paris
Miss Van started wall-painting in the streets at the age of 18, in the early 1990's. With her frescos and paintings, she establishes an innovative concept, creating an feminine alternative to the predominantly male realm of street art.
Her dolls - sensual and capricious, yet sweet and sensitive - attract. Like Miss Van herself, her dolls are full of ambiguity, capturing both feminine youth and the essence of womanhood. Her works have generated an imaginary universe full of colors, erotism and voluptuousness.
When did you begin painting?
At the beginning of the nineties, I was 18 years old.
What are your influences?
The art movement "Figuration libre," Japanese artists, graphics, animation movies, the pin-up of the fifties, comic strips, are part of my inspirations. I am influenced by artists like Marc Ryden and Junko Mizuno and, in another field, and comic strips are all part of my inspiration…
Why did you first choose to paint on the walls of your town, and not canvasses ?
I didn't really choose it, it came naturally. Painting on walls was a way to show that I was boycotting the conventional art world. At my beginnings, I had a rebel mind.
I also find this more exciting to paint in the street because it is forbidden. Painting on walls allows me to keep my freedom; as it is illegal, there is no censorship.
It is also a challenge, since each time I paint on a wall there is the risk of seeing my work erased.
SinceI like moving around and meeting people, so I prefer painting in the street.
It also enables me to make my art accessible to a larger public audience.
Is it hard to be a girl in Graffiti?
As I am a girl in a masculine environment, I may be more easily criticized. I had to fight to show that my work was as good as men's.
Have your dolls evolved over years?
They evolved a lot over the past ten years. At first, my dolls had much more simple and graphic lines; they were very childish. Their forms were simple and round. Then the line have become more precise, I added many details. My dolls have become more realistic and expressive. As I am always sincere when I always paint with sincerity; they have grown up with me.
What draws you in your art work?
At the beginnings, my dolls were self-portraits. Graffiti has a very megalomaniac side; instead of writing my name, I chose to represent myself through my dolls. I felt a real need to affirm myself, maybe because I have a twin sister and I had to show my difference.
Later on when I didn't feel as much this need to mark my identity, my work became.
The idea of provocativeness has also a part in my conception of my work. I have always liked painting a sexy doll in an inappropriate place. I want to provoke strong reactions.
Can we say that some of your works are erotic?
Yes, it doesn't bother me. Since I work with women, as a subject, I cannot avoid being close to sensuality and even to eroticism. However, my paintings are never vulgar.
I want my characters to truly exist; I'd like them to have their own personalities. I recognize that some of my dolls are provocative; it is part of their personalities. I like playing on ambiguities: woman/child, angel/devil. As long as my dolls suggest something, I consider I have succeeded.
Why do you never represent masculine characters?
At the beginnings, I represented some masculine characters. But it doesn't interest me, from a graphic point of view, they are too simple. Occasionally, I have replaced them with small animals, with cuddly toys, which has provoked strong reactions…
What message do your dolls convey?
They convey a provocative image, sometimes a bit erotic. I wish they disturbed and provoked fantaisies.I want them to make the viewer react, no matter the reaction. I would like them to make people forget their daily lives.