Raymond is a versatile artist who lives in Berlin and Naples.  His work http://www.artraumst.de/ is a synthesis of visual art, performance art and installations.  He’s a talented and very thoughtful guy.  Here’s our cool chat.

MICHAEL: Hey Raymond, Your work is great.  I love the way you use mixed media, collage and photography.  Your approach is hip and cutting edge yet human.  Why do you create this kind of work?

RAYMOND: Hi Michael, Happy to hear from you. Why I do this kind of work? My artistic research goes hand in hand with the way of life. And in front of current events, life opens up to a multitude of alternatives. I have the opportunity to experiment with techniques that become mixed, multi, so I can put together a synthesis of languages to be able to give birth to my work. I consider myself a visual artist and for me the collage stands for an installation made with mixed materials and/or objects that have each of them a series of meanings and use/consumption. So my artistic process always starts with an image that I have lived in reality or in a dream.

MICHAEL: I like the term, "Synthesis of Languages."  Why do you put all of these things together?  Can't they do well on their own?

RAYMOND: Yes sure, these things do well on their own.  The term ”Synthesis of Languages” represents the time at which I do the creative act, without mental construct. All that I have assimilated for that project, for that work, reappears in a form, conceptual or abstract. Every work is born and always materializes differently, changing the techniques and the languages overlap.

The forms of language that I practice - each one has its expressions and as such, they come alive in a free form and when you can act independently. But only if the language is free to express itself - through the artist. I try to create a synthesis of languages. I recently curated the exhibition "Immobility" which brought together different artists and languages.

In this project, I created a single and composite visual language for which each artist was able to freely express his concept of immobility and the relationship between the artwork and the public, the body and contemporary space. Personally, I presented three works/languages: a extemporaneous installation with performance called, “Anything,” a video installation called, "ImmobPlast /2" and a video performance called, ”ImmobPlast.” I think I feel that today, contemporary art navigates with difficulty, as it is compressed between the greedy and cynical art market and the lack of visibility of many languages.

MICHAEL: You work in many different genres.  How do you do this?  Do you have several projects going on at the same time or do you complete one project before moving on to the next one? 

RAYMOND: Some of my works grows instinctively, others with the development of a production plan. This depends on the type of work, visual or performing arts, and therefore the time of realization. As I mentioned before, it is vital for me to interact with the forms of language, my artistic production reflects also the places where I was, and fills my life here and now. My art is one path without end, animated by joys and torments, by the beauty and tragedy of the world. So, my projects are born and grow side by side, sometimes take different pathways, just for the sake of language and the context in which my works are exposed or projected. 

Currently I am working on three projects, two as visual artist (photography-video-installation) and one as art director (visual installation with painting and sculpture). It's how to create choreography with three movements, because they are interconnected with each other by a common theme, which is in this case “the conditions of the body and the society in contemporary space,” but they will be done along a time sequence.

MICHAEL: I actually get a strong sense of time, space and human possibilities in your work. Are those ever themes that you explore?

RAYMOND: These themes are essential for my work because I consider them essential elements of our existence. Humankind will always need space, whatever it is and time instead - what will become? Here, for me to make an artwork is to put myself under discussion, call into question what affects the society. 

I have an exhibition entitled “NOW - Space in Present.” My aim is to create simultaneously synaptic and interactive experiences. Visitors pass through the space of visual installation to have a sudden feeling of being timeless, "freed" in a metaphysical dimension where the layers and surfaces pictorial and sculptural shapes and materials blend the signs of the archaeological space in the present. It is to break the time and to cancel ... the cell of yesterday becomes the cage today. Time is an invention of man, and what is time? Everyone has their own concept of time and uses it in the best way, but it is not always the case.  A large part of humanity lives subjected by time imposed by others. Almost always, the themes of my art develop from the concept of time or the significations of contemporary space and then,  human issues.

MICHAEL: When you are creating art, what is going through your mind?  Are you meditating?  Is the creation process intellectual, emotional or spiritual for you?

RAYMOND: When I create, my mind is light and transparent, in the sense that in that moment I do not act through mental constructs or reasoning. You asked the right thing, the creative act is a form of meditation. Sometimes I feel like in apnea. For me, the creative process is all -intellectual, emotional and meditative.

MICHAEL: Where are you exactly?  Paris?  Are you inspired at all by your environment and surroundings?

RAYMOND: I live and work between Berlin and Naples. The places where I am are part of my inspirations, sometimes I choose the territorial context in which I have in mind to achieve work, just like the island of Ouessant, island of winds and cool colors ... Or the underground cells a medieval castle in Naples or even an urban space in Berlin. Everything depends on the project that I have in progress.

MICHAEL: When did you first know that you were an artist?  How did you become an artist?  Did your family approve of this?

RAYMOND: There is no date or a specific event to become an artist. It is a process of experience and awareness. I think that being an artist means to be a worker of art, and I feel so a worker of art. The discovery and experimentation were and are essential factors in my life. This path led me to cross and see what happens around me. Everyone has within himself the creativity, the artist existence is studded with sensibility, feeling and way of life. 

The people see me as an independent artist that practices the visual and performing arts. Contemporary art is not the exclusive outpost of a show. I like to work in peace and with whom I find affinities, exchanges of ideas and experiences. The artistic process has to be a free expression, beyond any formal and aesthetic opinion. What to say about my family ... they were creative and were opened to innovations. 

MICHAEL: What do you think about the art world today and the way it functions?  Emerging artists are still virtually ignored compared to dead, famous artists. Picasso is long dead and he's still getting richer while living artists are struggling.

RAYMOND: I feel that art is embedded in the global market crisis. The economy and art are living a period of shortfall, while our society is saturated with consumer goods, and natural resources are increasingly scarce and affected by pollution.

I do not see why people should be concerned with art, given that between work and leisure they consume art like any other product. I do not see why people should give more attention or sensibility to art. Today, art is submissive to the corporate market and moves under its laws. It's not about becoming fossils in an art museum or in a space for the chosen few; it is rather a safeguard and stimulation of the creative spirit that is within each of us.

Creativity allows the individual to discover the “unknown,” and the “unusual” and people should be able to see beyond the rules of the media, to imagine other horizons that reveal the beauties of life. Art as the savior of the world is a utopia.

I remember a few years ago, I was in Rome, I saw a line incredibly ordered of people who waited for hours to be able to enter in the ”Complesso Del Vittoriano” for an exhibition dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh. It occurred to me a surreal scene of “It’s All True” by Orson Wells, there is a beautiful sequence in ”My friend Benito” where hundreds of people and sheep were running in single file towards church. Art is not politics, but coexists with the social and economic conditions that afflict the communities of our world.

In our model of capitalist society, people produce and consume, meanwhile it loses sight of creativity and there closes like a clam, it loses sight the value of diversity and sense of humanity. A thing that people can make is to give the possibility to the artists to get closer and give them free expression. I live the creative process connected with the contemporary. I think the idea is not to put under discussion the weight of auction, as much it exists because today is a pivot in the market. It would take a lot of people and artists to free up art from the market and try to change the state of things through a multiform interaction between the artist, his production and people. I see art as a vehicle towards a better society, free from the prejudices and from prescriptions.

MICHAEL: Thanks Raymond.  Nice chat.

Check out Raymond La Motte at http://www.artraumst.de/.