Evelyn Bencicova Talks About Her Latest Work, Technology and Success
Updated: Sep 5, 2020
Evelyn Bencicova (b. Bratislava, 1992) is a visual creative specializing in photography and art direction. Informed by her background in fine art and new media studies (University for Applied Arts, Vienna), Evelyn’s practice combines her interest in contemporary culture with academic research to create a unique aesthetic space in which the conceptual meets the visual.
HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY AFFECT YOUR WORK?
Technology influences how we look at the world as well as how we make art. In fact making art is about looking at the world. Technology creates limitations but also possibilities. It determines which visions can become reality.
Technology made our wold faster, more global, but also more ignorant and polluted (in many ways). Some would even say that technology made us and what we live in today. In my opinion technology is a tool. It needs to be used, or operated in order to exist. The camera is a tool in photography- it technically takes the picture but the mind behind it creates and the hand sets the camera in motion. Tools are great helpers but I would not let it think instead of me.
All my latest projects did not involve the camera, coming from a classical photography background, surprisingly I feel like my practice did not radically change. It remained about creating worlds, telling stories and transforming ideas into visuals. Just the way to do it changed.
After all this I do not feel like I abandoned photography- rather it got a new form. Images today sometimes not only move or speak but react and look back on us.
This experience was definitely positive and enriched me with new possibilities of how to control- or sometimes loose control over narrative:) It brought many new question and I like questions, especially those I have difficulty answering. What tone of voice is a character using? Is her voice inside of you or far away? How does she come alive? What is actually alive? I always search for new changes and shifts in thinking and this was definitely one of them.
DO YOUR PARENTS LIKE YOUR WORK?
That probably depends on the project. I feel they see many topics in different way, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but not always pleasant. I very rarely show my work to family, they don’t attend my exhibitions etc. as they have more important things to deal with in everyday life, and if I’m alive and more or less safe they accept what I do, even though they don’t really celebrate it.
My parents are quite young but despite that, I grew up in different circumstances, also in a different political regime. They were born into society which offered more stability for the price of freedom. I experience almost zero stability but the chances for personal growth are quite subjective. You can decide what you want to do but you struggle and fight for it every day. They could not decide much, but were promised quite comfortable, secure lives. My parents could not travel freely, I sometimes fly between 5 countries a week. Obviously our lives are quite different.
My parents are creative but when they were my age this was something what belonged more to a world of dreams or in best case free-time activities. When I expressed my wish to pursue an artistic career, the reaction was of course to stop fantasizing and go back to reality, to study a course that would bring me a “real job”. I’m not upset because I understand the position they speak from.
I am always uncertain, maybe because of my background, if this is going to last and develop. I would never have expected to reach the point I am at right now, in which my imagination, thoughts, research and work are interconnected. At the end what is a “real job”? I have a difficult time calling what I do “work” even though it probably is, but I just enjoy it too much:)
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE IF YOUR WORK HAS BEEN A SUCCESS?
I don’t know what success is. Despite this expression being so widely misunderstood and manipulated. It is a poisonous idea implied on us, also on me. An idea which is especially difficult to get out of ones mind. I would like to say that success is about being honest with yourself, to follow your true interests and desires with full dedication and passion. For each individual this means something else. I would like to believe that. As I grow up, I try to turn anxiety from lack of external “success” into a search for internal fulfillment. I try and try, every day.
In my work I wish to dive deeper rather than jump higher. To not run fast, but to go somewhere, even though the goal of this journey might be very far or even change in the process. I want to find ways to communicate my thoughts, to create impulses for conversation in works both intellectual and approachable. My work probably will not be appreciated by everyone, but even if one person reflects on it and tries to understand, that is a success for me.
HOW DO YOU GET YOUR PRACTICE OUT WHEN IT IS STUCK?
Is not the artistic practice in large part about being stuck? About looking for answers which cannot be found? For light in the darkness, something outside the void? Sometimes we tend to forget that searching is in the biggest sense, the way. Results does not exist without process.
I am always stuck, stuck in my thinking, in memories or fears. Artistic practice is a way to deal with it. To enter the point, in which I feel the most, even if we speak about pain. I seek for inspiration everywhere, all the time. Both outside and inside. I keep my eyes and mind open. My key is not to look at the final outcome, as that can be overwhelming and hard to see, but rather for a missing part. My imagination is fueled by reading, dialogue and also simple observation of the world. Everything can be interesting, if you come close enough.
WHAT WAS THE WORST REACTION TO YOUR WORK?
Probably no reaction, as for me every type of response is meaningful. If someone hates my work, I find it interesting to talk about the reasons. In fact, mosts my projects are not made to be entirely like-able:) I don’t want to create imagery, which you walk by, swipe through and forget. I want it to stay with the viewer, inside of the mind as a place you come back to and observe again. Often only then do you access the layers beyond what is visible. The first glance is important, because it draws attention but I’m mostly interested in what happens afterwards.
Both “like” and “dislike” are starting points for a conversation as they can always be followed by “why?”. What is more problematic, let’s call it “no feelings” is quite common for todays society, which is fed with and a fed up with images. We always look, often we don’t see anymore. Coming from that, any reaction when you stop and think is positive, even when it happens in the most unexpected situations.
I work on editorials and commissioned projects which appear on billboards or the pages of magazines. These platforms are more visible and approachable than gallery prints, but are often ignored as they are part of visual pollution, which surrounds us. Despite that, I see it as a great place for spreading a message and challenging the audience (while there is no specific audience, it is everyone) with interesting concepts. Im against elitism in art. Im only agains a superficiality of commerce. There must be a way to connect artists with people, and I mean people who are not only looked at as customers. My goal is to create bridges instead of walls.
Coming back to your question, it is fascinating to observe reactions, especially in less staged environment (not just at a gallery opening, but seeing your picture somewhere on the street with a drawing on it or half torn away). The variety of opinions are so wide, every person who looks at a picture sees something slightly different. I believe that it is because we always see ourselves in relation to it, not just the visual alone. Each project has my personal story in it but I prefer to speak about topics in general ways and sometimes leave out parts of the explanation in order to leave things up to interpretation.