Maria Louiza Biri is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer working on either sides of the divide between the expressive and the utilitarian. An interior designer by trade, she is also active as a visual artist and has a contemporary dance background. We invited her to contribute to the und. Cover project with a new work, and she responded with a series of geometric collages composed of marble and stone textures. In the following interview we find out a bit more about her artistic practice, how it relates to her interior design work and what’s coming up in her agenda.
Tell us a bit about your practice. Which disciplines do you work in?
As an artist, through my work I prefer to explore life and various aspects of it from different perspectives. My work deals with 2D, 3D and 4D forms and I am lately concerned about the relationship of the viewer and space through installation. My work has references to scientific, philosophical and social issues. I work as an observer of the world and I am trying through art to answer my questions about life.
What does design mean for you? How do you think of the human body in relation to interior design?
As an interior designer I am interested in focusing on how design can stimulate all senses and at the same time ensure that the design is indistinguishable from its function. In interior design projects I try to investigate the unknown between art and design, to evoke feelings to the viewer by giving a new meaning to the objects and materials of the space.
Your Beetroot project is a combination of abstraction, photography and collage. How did you work to achieve this result and what is the concept behind it?
The Beetroot project is a series of photographs depicting patterns formed of beetroot juice and olive oil on a plate. I edited the photographs on Photoshop in order to enhance the geometric patterns that were being formed. The colors and shapes the beetroot juice and olive oil create are the same as in the original photographs taken. This project was a surprise for me because I could have never thought that olive oil and beetroot juice could create patterns that look like fractals.
Last October you participated in the exhibition Secrets organised by Athens Intersection. Tell us about the work you presented there.
I participated in the exhibition ‘Secrets’ curated by Mr. George Georgakopoulos. The installation “I am unique” referred to human behaviour and how our personality and behaviour is affected especially by art, fashion, music and from pop culture in general. The installation is based on the irony of the human uniqueness in contrast to pop culture. The title “I am unique” comes in contrast with the repetitive scheme of lollipops on the wall. The installation consists of lollipops which are all at the same height, have same color and taste and are made by the same material. The lollipops are placed one next to the other on the wall with black tape creating Xs. The reason I chose lollipops for my installation is because first of all, they are very popular candies and are addressed to children. Children are the first that imitate behaviours in order to be socially accepted. The lollipop as an image belongs to pop culture, which expresses mass-ness and is heavily influenced by mass media. Second, the fact that the lollipop is a candy makes it desirable, and when something is forbidden it becomes more desirable. There is the belief that as human beings we want what we cannot have. The x that is created by the black tape generates this illusion. In addition, the shape of the lollipop with the tape can remind us a very quick drawing of an individual and it consists of three elements which are a vertical line, a circle and an x: | O x
What's next in your agenda and how do you see your practice evolving in the near future?
My future plans are to produce more works of art and to develop my creative abilities. I love working with different materials and media and to find new ways of combining my art with design. I dream of the day when I will have created my own design studio and produced works from still life to interiors, product design and installations. Currently I work on a new project with the title ‘Impermanence’. In Buddhism the term impermanence refers to the notion that “all of conditioned existence, without exception, is ‘transient, evanescent, inconstant’. All temporal things, whether material or mental, are compounded objects in a continuous change of condition, subject to decline and destruction”. This concept fascinates me because humans by nature have the tendency to create ‘stable and permanent’ environments and situations in their life but this comes in contrast with the nature of life itself. So for this project I work with materials and textures that create the illusion of movement which is enclosed into geometric shapes/boundaries like the boundaries we human beings create in our life. The type of work I will produce for this project will include photographs, illustrations and installations.