Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In Conversation.... Alexander Batsis

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Performance element by Alexander Batsis on the launch of FIXATION.  Photo by Jim Lee.


We chatted with designer Alexander Batsis who combines fashion, installation and performance for his work 'Out with the New, In with the New' for Fixation.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF! WHERE ARE YOU FROM? 
Born and bred in Kew Melbourne – how fitting that the exhibition is in the next suburb! My parents are both Greek, first generation here. I just finished my Bachelor of Fashion Design; I graduated with First Class Honours. I guess that’s exciting. I love spending summers in Greece and reading works by Barthes or J.C Flugel.


HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK? WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU WORK IN?

Techniques and methods are more concrete within my practice, the type and use of materials is always in flux. I find that materials tend to have a very specific language; the use of that language tends to be in response to the idea that’s being engaged with within the project. I guess my work again is always in flux. I tend to have a sense of commentary within a project and decide to make the work more of a discussion and dialogue about ideas. Allowing materials, surfaces, objects and performances to establish a visual language. 


WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK IN THE MEDIUM THAT YOU DO?
I guess it has many facets that attract me to it. Fashion has become more of a vehicle rather than a destination within my practice. I tend to see fashion as a dialogue than rather something im trying to create. Ive been interested in pursuing fashion since I was a teenager so I guess over time ive perhaps forgotten my attraction to it? Which I would see as a good thing.


WHAT ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF TO DATE?
My first solo exhibition at No Vacancy Gallery last year. Made me realise that fashion within the exhibition context is something worth exploring within my practice.  


IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANOTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? WHO INSPIRES YOU?
Marina Abramovic. Performance plays a pivotal role in my work, and she would be perfect for obvious reasons.


WHAT'S YOUR WORK PRACTICE LIKE? DO YOU WORK IN A STUDIO/HOME? WHAT GETS YOU IN THE MOOD TO CREATE?
I work in a studio. To tell you the truth there’s not one time that I am not thinking about creating. Quote “thinking” – when I actually “act” on those thoughts is very rare and involves a lot of energy! Coffee, happiness and a good Greek meal gets me in the mood.


IS THERE A SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR CREATIVITY? DO YOU HAVE MUSIC OR SILENCE?
Silence. Total Silence.


WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WILL TAKE AWAY WITH THEM FROM SEEING YOUR WORKS
I guess there isn’t one specific feeling or thought that I want people to have when they view and experience the work. I would like to think that people would generally feel that fashion itself can be used as an idea that provokes thinking and discussion on how we manage and curate ourselves within society. And the reasoning behind all of it. The whole system is very bizarre.


WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS TIME? WHAT'S YOUR DREAM?
Wow, those questions scare me! I guess I’d like to be doing the same thing; exhibitions, shows and performances – on a bigger scale and platform.


You can find out more about Alex's work during our Catwalk and Talk on Saturday 5 April at 1pm.  Alex will join Senior Curator Mardi Nowak in discussion about all things fashion and the new!

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