Interview with Nathalie COHEN
Eternity Gallery: When did you start making art? Was this a hobby before becoming a passion and eventually a career?
Nathalie Cohen: From a young age, creating art has always appealed to me, whether it was in fashion or other fields such as design. I like researching new ways to achieve visual discovery. I do not see my work as a career but rather a permanent quest for emotions. Although my research started some 15 years ago, I made my first kinetic artworks in 2010.
EG: How did you transition from a woman entrepreneur to a full time artist?
NC: Being an entrepreneur is a violent thing for a woman: you must fight constantly. But there comes a time in life when you aspire to more stillness and peacefulness. After years spent building my business, I felt the need to turn to creating art – an act that belongs in a different temporal dimension.
Is there a link between your artistic work today and your previous profession?
I would say the common characteristic is the creativity that is required in seeking novelty as well as in design. Non-temporality is central in both cases because these creations are made to last in time. I like the idea that I am bringing joy to those who share my sensitivity.
Why kinetic art? What in this genre attracted you specifically?
From a young age, in school already, movement inspired me. I remember my rulers and other lenticular promotional materials that became animated through movement. So it has always been a fascination of mine: animating objects and the eye of the viewer creating the optical illusion.
What is your creative process? What are the different steps from concept to finished artwork?
The first step is a research of a geometrical shape and of the movement that will bring it to life. Then a research for colors. After that, I sketch the different elements on paper and on my computer. Between the original concept and the final result, there can be happy surprises. Finally comes the printing process, during which the movement will appear with more or less strength.
What artists inspire you ?
Many of them, all who have movement and geometrical shapes in common. I could mention the South-American school with Julio le Parc, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Jésus Raphael Soto – who just had a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. I would also name the Isrealian artist Yacov Agam, the Italian Alberto Biasi and of course Victor Vasarely and his son Yvaral.
As my research progresses and as my work evolves, I get closer to them.
2020 was a trying year for many people. Has your work been affected? What about your inspirations and aspirations for the future?
The pandemic affected all artists emotionally and economically, me included. Still, it gave us the opportunity to refocus and take a fresh look at life. It probably led me to more subtlety in my use of color and movement. I have also experimented with new materials.
What is, in your opinion, the role of an artist in 2021?
Culture and art in general have been undermined in the chaos caused by the virus. Artists must once again fight for art to remain regarded as a vital function of society. Through their art, they must also bear witness to this historical moment and what it entails for the future.