The feeling of 'uncanny': An interview with Melina Fakitsa Mosland
By CREAM ATHENS | June 4, 2020 9:00 BST
Melina Fakitsa Mosland is a Greek – Norwegian visual artist based in Athens. She studied in Athens School of Fine Arts from 2014 until 2019. Her art is exploring the connection between the human body and nature, creating dreamy sketches in painting and sculptures. She has exhibited at Trii Art Hub, Felios Collection, Art of Ethniki Bank Insurance, Cultural Center of Markopoulo amongst others.
Tell us about yourself
My work is constructed around the themes of nature, the human body and the connection that these two share. A theme that is also always present in my work is the feeling of ‘uncanny’ firstly introduced by Sigmund Freud in his 1919 essay. It’s the feeling we get when something is strangely familiar and at the same time so far away from our perspective. I like to play with contradictions and contrasts both in materials and in meanings. My pieces are dreamy and cute but at the same time ugly and surrealistically dark; grotesque but with a humorous touch, using contemporary art practices mixed with traditional. I could also consider myself a collector as many of my sculptures are made by found objects and everyday items.
What have you been working on at the moment?
At the moment I am working on a new project called 'The lake under the sea' and examines the relationship between the human body, the ocean and the unconscious. I take into consideration the different meanings of water; both physically and conceptually; and the element of fluidity. In this project I use a scene from 'Blue Planet 2' from 'The Deep' documentary series as my main inspiration, associatively combined with Rebecca Solnit's essay about the colour blue and a phrase of the Norwegian author Jens Bjørneboe.
Do you believe that Norway has affected your practice?
Being half Greek and half Norwegian is a weird combination considering that they are quite opposite cultures. I find myself working in a super organised and concentrated way and in a totally chaotic at the same time. I think that the consistency of my work could be a Norwegian thing and the chaotic playfulness a Greek one. Another thing is that I lived my early childhood in Norway, which makes me have some strong emotional memories and I it might be the reason I am drawn around the theme of nature in my practice. In Norway people seem to have a stronger connection to nature and their land. I find myself fascinated with plants and rock formations and I learned from an early age to pay attention to my natural surroundings.
Which is the greatest source of inspiration for you?
What contemporary trends do you follow?
As a person I am really interested in fashion and I always follow what’s going on. The interesting thing that happens accidentally is that I tend to sometimes follow fashion trends but not through clothes but through in my artworks. For example if polka dots are in fashion, you might see me using them somehow in my drawings.
Which are the 5 artists you admire?
1. David Altmejd; I love his work. What fascinates me the most about his work is his werewolf creatures that look like they came out of a non-scary post apocalyptic world. Listened to his talks I also realised that the way of organising his work is kind of similar to mine. His idea that 'matter comes before meaning' is what makes his pieces so unique and alive.
2. Genesis Belanger is also one of my recent favorites. What I find interesting in her sculptures is the texture and how they seem smooth and squizable but they are actually made out of porcelain. I also like how she deals with femininity and the body along with the pastel colors of her work. Her pieces have a cute surrealistic essence which is something I am always drawn to.
3. I couldn't forget to mention Tony Oursler’s work. I saw his work while I was in a trip with ASFA in New York in 2014 and since then he is one of my favorite artists. I love his uncanny usage of projections and his commentary on technology and contemporary issues .
4. The South Korean illustrator Moonassi. What I like is the simplicity of his illustrations. There is something powerful about being able with only a few simple lines and one to color to give away such strong meanings.
5. And last there is a specific artwork I am lately drawn and this is Olafur Eliasson’s 'Riverbed' installation. With this work Eliasson creates a river landscape inside the gallery space of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. What I find interesting is the idea of an artificial natural space and the way he challenges the experience of the museum.
What is your opinion about the Greek art scene? How possible is it to participate in exhibitions and how do you seek for new opportunities?
I think that we have an interesting growing scene. In the last years we have seen some great collaborations with international institutions that put Greece on the global art map. Most things happen with private initiatives and the fact that the arts in Greece are totally unsupported is something that has to change but on the other hand this makes room for more free forms of exhibitions, alternative spaces and small independent project rooms and so on. From my experience, opportunities and useful information travel mostly from mouth to mouth but lately I feel more and more websites and magazines try to inform people about existing open calls and opportunities.
Has the lockdown influenced your practice?
During the lockdown I had to find different ways to express myself and search for alternative materials. Being stuck at home, I had to use whatever resources I had. I started paying attention to stuff I had in the house and the potential they had to be used as art materials. I ended up with making some new sculptures for my ongoing project but I also started experimenting with photography using household items. One stone, a glass ball, a set of eyes cut out of an old magazine and a mirror where some of my materials for my pictures.