Interview with artist Noa Reichenberg

Hello Noa! Thank you for taking time for this interview. First of all, tell us please about yourself and how and when art did appear in your life?
 

Thank you for having me!
 

I am a visual artist based in Israel. I have a BA in Arts and philosophy and an MA in philosophy. I remember the first time, many years ago, as I was walking down the street, I saw a mirror that was thrown-away. I stopped and picked it up, thinking about the fact that mirrors are unique surfaces, unlike canvas, paper, wood etc. because they are reflective. I thought about the ability to transform it into a work of art that is not indifferent to the people standing in front of it, and to the space it’s placed in.
 

I started to experiment with different types of colors and techniques, starting with stray mirrors I found in the streets, testing how the mirrors react to
different textures and searching for the right balance between transparent and opaque. So my technique was conceived in a slow process of trial and error, and It took years before I felt confident enough to start exhibiting my art in galleries, first in Israel and then Internationally. But even before I started exhibiting my works, I was always creating, as it is an inner impulse that I have. These days, I spend time everywhere I go, searching for uniquely shaped mirrors that I find inspiring, and even have some made especially for artworks I'm conceiving.

Abstract art is quite a unique movement. Why did you choose exactly this art language to express yourself?
 

I feel as if geometric abstraction is my inner language, it makes sense to me. It has the logic and intellectual properties of geometry while remaining

abstract enough to incorporate a flow of emotions. I found my balance in this particular style which allows me to express both thoughts and emotions while still giving the viewer the freedom to interpret the artwork. It’s important for me that each person is able to give the artwork the meaning which is uniquely their own.

 

Also you use mirrors and reflections in your works. The symbolism of the mirror, in many cultures, is connected with mysterious effects which it has on the person’s soul. Do you believe in something like that? Why did you choose these materials to work with?
 

Well, I think that looking at oneself in the mirror is an intimate, private moment. Unfortunately, in today’s society mirrors are commonly used as an oppressive tool we inflict on ourselves. We look in the mirror to see if we fit in, to view what others might see when they look at us, check for imperfections. By using mirrors as the base of my art, I hope that people viewing my works would stop looking for their (and others’) imperfections, and instead realize they are unique, and view themselves as part of a work of art.
 

I wish to raise questions about the way we perceive, and about the complex relation between our sense of self and our mirrored image. Having the gaze obstructed and fragmented by the geometric shapes makes us aware of the fact that our vision is manipulated. In today's world, where there are always "filters'' obstructing and manipulating our vision, we need to start looking at reality, others and even ourselves “unfiltered”.

Tell us about the process of creation. How do you come up with the idea and when the implementation does start? Where do you work and do you have any unusual rituals?

 

Before starting each piece, I take inspiration from the specific mirror I'm about to work on. On paper, I sketch the movement of the shapes, the way they intertwine or disconnect, the symmetry or asymmetry chosen for each composition and give special thought to which parts will be painted in transparent colors that are reflective, which parts (if any) would leave the mirror exposed, and which parts will be colored in opaque colors and different textures. Then, I start working on the mirror itself, using Cerne reliefs to draw the outlines of the shapes. After the outlines are dry, I use glass paints with different textures and transparencies to paint the shapes and background. It is a very slow and meticulous process, as time is needed to let each phase dry before continuing to the next. I don’t have any unusual rituals, perhaps only the fact that when I paint, I always listen to music - usually alternative metal or progressive metal.
 

What are your future artistic plans and current projects you are working on. Tell us please about your future collaboration with Haze Gallery.
 

I am constantly working on new pieces. It appears that this upcoming year we will be able to return to the physical galleries and museum and see art both virtually and physically. New artworks that I have been working on this past year are scheduled to be exhibited in galleries both in Israel and internationally. I must admit I am most excited about my participation in the upcoming “Abstract Art” group exhibition in April at the beautiful Haze Gallery in Berlin! It is truly an honor.

 

Among your works. Which one is your favorite and why?
 

It’s very difficult to choose a favorite. Each one of my artworks was born at a specific time in my life and I poured into it a piece of myself. In a way, I am fragmented in them, and they represent different sides of me, each is part of my life’s journey, a memory, someone I used to be, since I believe we keep changing.

 

Best advice ever given to you which inspired you to create and believe in yourself.

 

I was told that for every “yes” I receive, I will get dozens of “no”, so that the hardest part would be not to give up or be discouraged, but to always hold my head up and continue to do what I love and what I believe in.
 

Do you have a life philosophy? Does your creative practice fit in with this philosophy?
 

As I have a master’s degree in philosophy, it’s definitely something that is always on my mind, and my artistic practice embodies that. I was deeply touched by Emmanuel Levinas writings regarding our deep responsibility towards the Other. For that reason, my artworks are always in a constant dialogue with the people standing in front of them, and I regard them as incomplete until someone is reflected in them, changing them and allowing him/herself to become part of a work of art.
 

I think that in the same way that we are connected to each other, always influencing what is around us, so is art meant to be connected to its audience. It’s unfortunate that in our society mirrors became an instrument of self-scrutinizing and I wish people would view themselves, and others, more kindly.

 

And final question, how has the pandemic affected your creative process in terms of goal setting?

 

I am lucky to have my art studio in my house, so even at times of lockdown I could continue to work on my art. The epidemic certainly has an effect, both emotionally and on our daily routine. I found myself starting to express the social distance required at these times in my art, experimenting with different color techniques and distancing the geometric shapes from one another, not allowing them to touch. I hope that soon we will no longer need to keep our distance in order to protect the people we love.


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