Posts tagged switzerland arts
Joya: AiR / poet / Maxine Backus / Switzerland

 'I have built up a body of poems which largely relate to landscape and knew that I needed a new landscape and a new point of cultural reference to anchor some of the themes. I went to the Joya residency hoping to find this. I did find this, and much, much more. The landscape itself, vast and deserted, moved me profoundly. The spaces in the house, the professionalism and warmth of our hosts, the fruitful and fun interactions with the other residents and the interns, the opportunity to be social or not, the motivation of seeing others absorbed in their work, it all fitted. My work started to become sparser and more directed. I am grateful to have had time in this place with these people.'

Maxine Backus


‘Bleak House‘: Charles Dickens

‘We have Always Lived in the Castle‘: Shirley Jackson

`Poem for the Day: One, ed. Wendy Cope; Two, ed. Andrew Motion

‘The Good Companions’: J B Priestley

‘Noon Wine’: Katherine Anne Porter, in Collected Stories


Joya: AiR / Simon Kroug / Switzerland

‘Arriving at Los Gázquez by following tracks between pines and orchards of almond trees, you believe to be lost. You believe to change world or period. Silence is incredibly thick. Colours, smells and material share in the painting. And yet, here more than elsewhere, at the end of your trip, you touch concrete life as it is when in deep connection with Nature.

Without denying technological progress nor comfort, but with respect for environment, Donna and Simon created an artist’s residence in accordance with their ecologist and social convictions. This does not prevent neither the delicious meals (concocted by Donna) nor the cheerful tables or exciting discussions.

From my point of view, this particular place has got a very positive aura that undoubtedly stimulated my work and ideas, helped by the fabulous welcome of Donna and her family.

I regret that my language proficiency has deprived me of more thorough discussion on all the exciting subjects we have broached together.


My warm thanks to the entire team of Joya’.


Artists statement…

Since 2012, I question my need for space and nature. Uncomfortable with my urban condition and overconsumption all around me, I tried to reconsider my place in nature. My goal is to find the link distended with large spaces, back to basics, to experience the elements, and to self-seek a certain frugality. This initial search yielded a series of small format intimate and introspective prints . I titled this series of woodcuts or linocuts “Canopy“.


Working today in a space twice as large and high ceiling, I deepened the desire of space, of movement, of natural environment. Now I explore printmaking in a format such as printing must be done by hand. My report on the matter is more physical, gesture of a woodcut line or of a brush stroke becomes more important.

As a starting point, I use photography but these two-dimensional representations of reality are not sufficient me. Linking photography —instantaneous process of capturing light— with the slow and complex production of a woodcut print raises many questions about the nature of the image that I work.

I use either my own photographs, or I look for images on the internet and social networks. In total contradiction with what they express (contemplation, slow, pause) snapshots circulating ultra-fast. This deep slowdown that is physically felt in nature is the feeling I’m looking into pictures that I choose as a basis. Appropriating these images means living landscapes that are inaccessible to me at that moment. I fantasize these landscapes. I give a subjective reading about it.

Traditional Japanese gouges that I use, as the ink I make or papers made with natural fiber resonate with my project. It’s a pleasure to handle a great tool shaped itself by hand. Woodcutting thousands small recessed surfaces in(ter)dependent who are the light of all to save the solid ones fascinates me. By printing the matrix in hand, I play with chance. I induce more or less controllable shades on raised surfaces. I often enhance the print with brush strokes  of a particular color to add additional vibration frequency.

Sometimes appears a character, usually alone, engages himself … just me somehow! I claim contemplation as a fundamental attitude of existence. And with it, the use of a long time, which helps to get rid of the superficial.

Loneliness, in my work, like that of these characters is desired and assumed. I focus on my perceptions. During the long matrix etching phase, often bathed in a selected music, my mind wanders in the popup image. Idream and shapes and I can further explain why and how. Beyond the succession of technical milestones that mark the achievement of my work, I try to keep a place for my intuition.