Woman Crush Wednesday: Nicole Franchy
Interview by Mariajosé Fernández-Plenge
Vertical Horizons is an exhibition that evokes re-interpretation. It invites the viewers to translate the images and pieces of the artist to their own language, giving them a new meaning. Nicole Franchy works with archival material to make collages that create imaginary worlds.
I have read that you are fascinated with the idea of representation and translation, and the final result of your pieces is an invitation to the viewer to do that. What is Vertical Horizons about for you as the author?
Vertical horizon is in itself an oxymoron; the idea of a horizon is associated with a possible future. It’s verticality somehow even collapses along with the verticality implicit to power structures were some of the core ideas for the project.
How did you choose the title of the exhibition?
The work pretty much suggested the title. I usually pick the titles at the end of the process.
You have lived in Lima, Rome, Ghent, Berlin, and now you are based in New York. In what way have the different cities you lived in influenced your work?
There is always a process of “arriving” in full capacity on resettling in a different city or continent. Understanding myself as a person and an artist and considering my background and origins was imperative to negotiate living in Europe, especially while I was doing my post-graduate studies at The HISK. This experience was a pivotal time in my life and my practice as an artist. Thinking how my work would be read – translate on different places and the possible agency I have, if any, as an artist, had since then prevailed.
Your work has to do with appropriation; not only of the archive that you use, but the viewer appropriating the image you create: each person can make their own interpretation. It makes me wonder if you believe in objectivity in some kind of way, and if you do: in which way?
I like to think imagination is a force that can change mentalities. Working between the archive and the fictive is a way I have found over the years to somehow stretch the limits between a so called objective or imaginary construction of our natural and social worlds.
For Vertical Horizons, in three pieces from part of your exhibition at The Chimney NYC you use Duraclear Film to print excerpts from the Encyclopedia Britannica that you intervene with drawings. What was the process to choose the materials for this exhibition?
There are several underpinnings to the texts and images I select for the works and most of the times I have spend quite some time reading and looking into the material before I decide what to do. There is much that is decided on my work-table. I selected several images to draw from and start associating one another. I memorize and rethink images and texts alike before working with them, so there is also a memory filter process that I do in order to re-think them.
The texts come from the Encyclopedia Britannica. Several texts were related to science since that gave me a lot of space to re-elaborate and play with, other texts talk about color, memory, the creation of photographic images, political geography, in short, texts related to history and the mediation on knowledge through them.
Black Wasser is one of your most known pieces – and my favorite one - . How long is your process of creating an image like this one from scratch?
This piece has been physically one of the most challenging pieces I’ve worked for on the last years. I wanted to translate the sense of intimacy working with a small collage to a monumental scale, so after finishing the small collage and digital post-production I went on to work with an assistant for two weeks straight collaging this piece in the space. On an all it took me two months to finish Black Wasser.
To do collage work you kind of have to be a collector. Do you consider yourself one? What kind of items do you collect to inspire your work?
I guess I am but as opposed to most of the collectors / artists shown at The Keeper show, on view at the New Museum now, my collection is not just displayed but also being used, cut, pasted and transformed. I’m mostly busy in collecting postcards, books, publications, old photographs, vintage glass slides, 35mm slides and I also have some stereoscopic viewers.
I remembered the last time I saw you we talked about stages of an artist’s work and how it keeps evolving as you grow. You have been working with collages for a long time, although Vertical Horizons shows itself as a new stage; it has the weight of a new phase. What is next for you as an artist?
I think it’s more of an ongoing process that just stops for a moment and continues after the “show”. But yes! I think I’m quite confortable with several new processes I’ve worked with for this show, approaching volume with printed images and molding the pieces with my hands. That has definitely been a good experience.
The WCW Questionnaire
How would you describe your creative process in one word?
If you could teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?
I think I’d use the idea of a class more as a gathering to have group conversation with people I find interesting and have fun with and without any time pressure.
What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
Performing the archive by Simome Osthoff.
What is the most played song in your iTunes Library?
Nicolas Jaar’s albums.
How do you take your coffee?
Vertical Horizons curated by Carla Lucini is now on view at The Chimney NYC until October 8th, 2016.