AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER ROSSA
With the digital world ever in flux, the way we perceive the world has gone beyond that of the realm of definition. Photography’s current state is reminiscent of the early years of the medium, when the discipline had not yet found a definitive, standardised form, and the air was full of experimentation. The potential of 20th Century Photography was explored with great curiosity and the new medium was used with enthusiasm for all sorts of purposes and applications. Photography nowadays is likewise characterised by an open-minded mentality that invites all sorts of disciplinary cross-overs and experiments. Alexander Rossa, a contemporary visual artist based in Prague, goes back into the future to create his stunning mixed-media artworks crossing between analogue and digital. The openness of his methods reflects the spirit of visual freedom that characterises both the pioneers from the 19th Century as the contemporary artists of today.
"Can you tell us a bit about your work, what are you trying to convey?"
Animated by the idea of alchemy, I am fascinated with synthesizing various mixed media, blending both analogue and digital substances together to form visual expressions of an altered state of mind. Through my work, I intend to dissolve the boundary between a perceived staticity of identity and the notion of a fluid, unwavering stream of consciousness.
"How would you describe your work in three words?"
Surreal, phantasmagorical, transcendental.
I still ascribe to the saying that an image speaks more than a thousand words. At the same time I feel like I am beginning to learn that a photograph can tell more than just the image.
"What does the Digital Age mean to you and your work?"
Modern technology has greatly reshaped how we relate to the picture as a tangible visual object. You no longer need to be in Paris to view the Mona Lisa. Digital reproduction has saturated the landscape of images, from fine art, to commercial photography, all the way to tourist snapshots. I often appropriate existing imagery in my work. As a photographic artist in a post-internet era, I believe there has never been a more fruitful time to do so.
"Your work seems to feature a lot of glitching. What do these distortions symbolize to you?"
At first, I merely utilized glitching as a tool to make a photograph malleable, to bend the image to my will, so to speak. Now, I’ve developed a deeper sense of what it means to be erroneous. The glitch in my mind, acts as a kind of mirror in which I see not only the chaos unfolding within myself and civilization at large, but also through my past experiences with psychedelics, it incites me to communicate the idea that there isn’t necessarily a need for constant order and control. Actually, there is beauty and purpose in error.
"Can you tell us more about your processes? Are you solely a digital artist or do you use manual techniques, also?"
My artistic process involves a hybrid technique, which employs both analogue expressions such as painting and collage with digital tools such as photography and image scanning. I will usually spend a great deal of time with a piece before it ever meets the transition point to a digital space. I don't think I can solely define myself to a specific technological medium. I embrace both the raw palpability of physical materials, as well as the precise manipulative power of the computer.
"What does 'Post-Photography' mean to you?"
This is a very good question, and I think it’s one that many contemporary artists are exploring right now. I think that post-photographic practice mainly grapples with the superabundance of visual information and attempts to do so by reemphasizing the value of found imagery. But this in my mind doesn’t satisfy my own curiosity. I want to continue to discover ways to “paint” a picture using the photograph itself. I believe that photography in this day and age has become as fluid as memory itself, perhaps so very much tied to meaning, that by just changing the meaning, we suddenly become able to reform the entire image itself.