Inez de Vega's Bed Therapy

Inez de Vega will be therapist-in-residence in the pop-up shipping container gallery in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art forecourt from 11th to 15th November.

Bringing her own brand of street counselling to weary city dwellers who feel alienated and in need of support, she will provide a welcome source of unexpected comfort (in a cosy bed) for passers by who feel ill at ease with the demands of urban life.

Inez will have one participant at a time join her in bed (though the public can listen in). She will engage her participant in an intimate discussion about their life, the challenges they face and their feelings. Inez’s bed is a place where we are encouraged to admit we carry wounds beneath the veneer of strength that we show to the world.

We are all wounded, yet as we go about our business in the urban environment we are expected to present a robust and uncomplicated exterior. Inez is offering her participants a rare moment of vulnerability in a communal space — where the public might risk an intimate encounter with a caring stranger and access their deeper feelings.

Bed Therapy will take place from 11.30am – 2.30 pm daily. Each therapy session will run for 40 minutes. If you would like to book in for therapy with Inez, please contact ACCA reception on (03) 9697 9999 (sessions are free).

Inez de Vega: Three Exhibitions

The 2014 Georges Mora Foundation Fellow, Inez de Vega is presenting work in three  exhibitions:

F Word Contemporary Feminist Art
Ararat Regional Gallery
28 August - 12 October 2014

The Substation Contemporary Art Prize
Substation, Melbourne
15 August  - 12 October 2014

Play
Blindside, Melbourne - Online Exhibition
17 August - 11 October 2014

Inez de Vega,  Dying Not to Be , 2013 Still from HD Video, 08:00min

Inez de Vega, Dying Not to Be, 2013
Still from HD Video, 08:00min

Interview with 2014 Fellow: Inez de Vega

“Beneath the veneer of strength that we are expected to present to the world, most of us carry disturbing complexes of fear, guilt or shame. Unless we acknowledge these internal states, I suspect we won’t be able to change them.” - Inez de Vega, 2014

Inez de Vega, Lillian Temple-Dumble & Greatest Hits' Maximalist Cat, 2014

Inez de Vega, Lillian Temple-Dumble & Greatest Hits' Maximalist Cat, 2014

INEZ DE VEGA interviewed by Amy Marjoram

 

Firstly congratulations on being awarded the 2014 Georges Mora Foundation Fellowship! What are some of your hopes for the year ahead and the possibilities the fellowship opens up?

Thank you so very much. I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded the fellowship. In the next 12 months, I shall continue experimenting and strive to put up work that does justice to the decision of the board to award me this great honour. Georges Mora has an esteemed reputation both in Australia and in France for his services to culture and the arts. I am told he was a remarkable human being who railed against the stifling conservatism of Melbourne in the 50s and 60s, encouraging artists to bravely embrace their unique voice. If I were to use two adjectives to describe my practice it would be ‘personal’ and ‘transgressive’ so it feels like the perfect fit to be working with the foundation in the year ahead. I believe that Melbourne artists, in particular, are indebted to Georges’ legacy and I am very excited to be a part of that.

More specifically, the fellowship will provide me with both the financial and logistical resources (of the State Library) to research my project. This will involve the exploration of transgression in contemporary Australian art.

How and when did you decide to pursue being a visual artist? Was it a decisive moment or gradual steps that led to this career path?

It was a very gradual process to find my way as a visual artist. I have always had a strong interest in the creative arts (albeit in a very low-brow sense). As a child, I learned tap-dancing; and as a family, we loved watching old Hollywood musicals. My siblings and I would devise impromptu shows for our parents. But my first degree was in the very rational field of Economics and, without any personal insight, I landed in the banking industry — in hindsight an enigmatic career choice, to say the least! It was the onset of depression and a need to express myself creatively that put a stop to my banking career. I wrote and I painted, and I ended up applying to go to art school. Then, in the wonderfully experimental and supportive environment of the VCA, my childhood performances came back to me and I first entertained the idea of becoming a performance artist — although I had no idea what that might look like. Each day is still a mystery and sometimes I feel like a big fraud living out my childhood fantasy!

still image:  Inez de Vega,  Dying not to be , 2013, HD video

still image: Inez de Vega, Dying not to be, 2013, HD video

Still image: Inez de Vega, My father the fool, 2011 HD video

Still image: Inez de Vega, My father the fool, 2011 HD video

Your practice brings together performance and personal narratives intertwined with theatrical and/or cinematic scripts and influences. What are some of the things you have been looking at or considering recently?

I’m a sucker for a good, emotional narrative, which makes me quite irredeemable in many ways because, of course, abstraction and minimalism are still probably the most pervasive forms of expression in contemporary art. I’m also enamoured of beauty and (to my own chagrin) am not usually inspired by the orthodoxy of conceptualism, nor the anti-aesthetic in the visual arts. I crave to be moved. Watching a stunning movie, having a big belly laugh, reading a gripping novel or hearing beautiful music transports me — these are the things I seek out for pleasure and am driven to try to utilise in my own practice. I have arrived at the conclusion that, despite being a Buddhist, I am definitely not a minimalist in this lifetime – but I think by virtue of its suggestion to practise kindness towards myself and others, Buddhism is teaching me it’s okay to embrace my maximalism!

Your work is often heavily loaded with challenging content. How do you personally negotiate and maintain your experimental, provocative practice and what are the triumphs and difficulties artists working in these ways face?

I was the black sheep of my family, the rebel; so challenging people is in my make-up. Although in the art world people often wear their difference with pride, I’ve found it hasn’t been an easy path for me to see the world in opposition to the majority. In my childhood, it cost me a lot to be different. As I’ve matured and become more aware of this tendency to transgress, I find I can channel it into my art practice, where it generally finds a healthy and legal outlet. This is undoubtedly the benefit of being provocative. Mostly though, even today, I still have to hold myself back from completely letting go because I wouldn't want to harm others because of my tendency to push the limits!

The other danger in being provocative is that there is often a backlash against those who challenge the status quo. In principal, we like the idea of thinking of ourselves as different and flexible, but change is very difficult and we will oftentimes actively resist it. So to do anything provocative is to open yourself up to criticism and hatred, and this is very painful. I find I have to strike a balance between protecting myself and going for it.

Over many years of doing live and video-mediated performances what are some things you have learnt about performing that have surprised you? Does it get easier over the years?

I think every performance artist will have a different definition of what performance art is. I used to think of it as an exploration of authenticity, compared with the actor who deliberately and expertly takes on a role. I now think we all take on roles, whether we are actors or not. And perhaps through performance, I am attempting to explore how we perform! A sort of meta-analysis of performing, if you like. Bit by bit, I am exposing my panoply of selves until maybe I will just be naked with the viewer and not feel the need to take on any more roles… but maybe that is just a philosophical construct.

As for getting easier, yes and no. I am becoming more confident in my ability to perform and to contextualise my practice. However, I still struggle everyday with the fear of beginning a new work, and the fear that I won’t be a ‘good enough’ artist— however nebulous that is.

What do you hope to change in the viewer with your art practice?

Ooooh, that is a tough question. I don’t know that I can change the viewer but, like any little dancing girl, I do want to entertain my audience. The most depressing thing for me is making a work that fails to engage the viewer. I strive to put on a good show! I guess in many ways I employ fairly obvious tools such as narrative, emotion, humour and a lack of subtlety to try to make a connection, and then I repel people with challenging content that deals with issues such as trauma and suicide.

Do you think of yourself as a feminist and if so does this influence your work?

Oh, absolutely I’m a feminist. I never set out specifically to create a feminist artwork, only to make something that interests me. But because I am motivated to tell stories about female subjectivity, domestic violence, child abuse and psychological transformation — and more generally to effectively represent affect in art — I think my work tends to evoke a feminist reading. I relate very strongly to the feminist creed of the 1970s that the ‘personal is political’.

Inez de Vega, 2014 Georges Mora Foundation Fellow

Georges Mora Foundation founder and board member, Caroline Mora Williams today announced Inez de Vega as recipient of the 2014 Georges Mora Foundation Fellowship.

Inez de Vega is a performance and video artist based in Melbourne.

Referencing compelling visual imagery from the history of art, cinema and theatre, Inez plays with the past to create contemporary narratives of trauma, transgression and psychological neuroses.

Inez grew up in a family addicted to Hollywood musicals and it is this popular art form that delivers the starting point for her performances. Merging a theatrical aesthetic with her own personal allegory, she creates boldly satirical characters.

Through performance and video, the individuals she inhabits are driven to extremes. They transgress social norms and articulate the mental states that collectively we do our best to hide from one another. But whether our mental suffering is the result of a diagnosable psychiatric illness or merely the anxieties of everyday living, we each find a way of acting out our neuroses. And therein lies her obsession: how do we perform our own madnesses?

Announcing the 2014 Georges Mora Foundation Fellow, Caroline Mora Williams commented that “Inez encapsulates what the Georges Mora Foundation values – courage, creativity and the unexpected to challenge the status quo and give strength to new thinking in art.”

The Georges Mora Foundation Fellow is awarded $10,000 generously donated by arts supporters. Inez will also receive in-kind support from the State Library of Victoria and Alliance Française de Melbourne and access to a residency with Centre Intermondes in La Rochelle, France.

FULL PRESS RELEASE AS PDF

INEZ DE VEGA BIOGRAPHY

INEZ DE VEGA INTERVIEW

ARTIST WEBSITE

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