Diesel Art Gallery presents the first collaborative exhibition “Reality & Fantasy” by Berlin-based visual artist Sarah Illenberger, whose first monograph was published in 2011 by Berlin publisher Gestalten, and globally renowned Los Angeles-based creative director Miho Kinomura.
The exhibition showcases the vivid and often humorous works of Sarah Illenberger, using simple materials and household items such as fruits, food, plants, metal, textiles, paper, wood, and a collaboration movie that Miho Kinomura has filmed in Berlin.
The book “Sarah Illenberger” and other exhibition souvenirs will be available to purchase during the show at Diesel Art Gallery.
Sarah Illenberger was born in 1976 in Munich. After studying Graphic Design at London’s Central Saint Martins, she launched the jewelry label Sarah & Patric Design in 2001. Since 2003, the award-winning artist has worked as freelance illustrator, art director and set designer. Her clients include Hermes, Vanity Fair, Wallpaper, Time Magazine, New York Times, Audi and Nike.
Miho Kinomura is a curator and film director of the exhibition. Based in Los Angeles, she has produced many high fashion advertisings around the world. As a creative director and film director at STUDIO D.O.G.INC, she has worked for Shiseido, PARCO, Shu Uemura, McDonald’s and other TV commercials. In 2010, Miho won the hightest award in ITALIA VOGUE / ASVOFF FILM FESTIVAL with her film "J'ai Faim! " featuring Rina Ota. She has also organized the collaborative exhibition with Mark Jenkins at DIESEL DENIM GALLERY in 2008, and been working with a lot of talented creators around the world.
--Please introduce yourself first.
My name is Sarah Illenberger, I am a illustrator and designer based in Berlin.
--Please tell us about the exhibition concept. What would you recommend most to see at the exhibition?
The concept of the exhibition was to show a large variety of my work. The original artworks were shown along side the printed editions that are sold in small numbers. The installation: POPCORN was created on site and inspired by my visit to Kappabashi. We created 25 popcorn cans which were filled with freestyle origami popcorn.
--How was working with Miho Kinomura?
It was great to work with Miho. Since she is Japanese by origin, it was good to trust her point of view on what the Japanese audience would be interested to see. Although there was an immense email communication, we got to the point quiet quickly.
--How did you become interested in art? What made you want to become an artist?
I have been interested in art ever since I was a small child. I have always loved to make things by hand. I sold my first collages on the streets of greece. I studied Design in London and realized that illustration was the area I was best at. I developed this passion further to create some self- initiated projects like the "Strange Fruits" Series.
--When do you usually come up with a unique idea?
When I am not thinking about it. Many idea happen by accident when I see something different to reality. I like to play with objects and often the idea comes spontaneously when 2 things are interacting in a humorous way.
--Tell us about the process of creating your art work?
Coming up with the idea is the main part of my process. Once I have it scribbled on paper I go out to buy the right materials. With the help of assistants I transform the materials into the art form, then the work is photographed and digitalized.
-You have a lot of hand-made art works, but do you also use CG for making a poster?
I only use CG (Computer Generated?) to do a little touching up and the finish of the process. Removing unwanted elements and enhancing the colors and contrasts, is the most I do to get a satisfying result.
--There are lots of foods and everyday items applied in your art works, what is the reason that you choose and use these items for your artworks?
I love food for its variety in colors and structures. Generally I enjoy working with materials that are common and known to most people. I think you can only catch an idea when you a re familiar with the objects I am playing with.
--Do you feel any difference in expression and mindset between your original artwork and commissioned work?
My commissioned work is always more challenging because of the freedom one has. In commissioned projects one is limited and guided which facilitates a quick output. At the end my self ignited artwork is more satisfying because it has a longer lifetime. When someone decides to hang a photograph on their wall, they will have to Iive with it every day. I like that idea.
--You are based in Bellin. Does this location influences you anyhow for your creation?
Berlin is not very inspiring as a city- what makes it inspiring are the people. So many creatives living in one place, sharing ideas and visions.
--Who is your favorite artists or designers?
I love a lot of slapstick filmmakers like Charlie Chaplin, Jaques Tati or Loriot. I am also fond of fine artist like Fischli & Weiß, Gabriel Orozco, Erwin Wurm. I am a fan of any artist you can integrate humor in their work.
--What do you like to do on your day-off? Do you have any favorite movie?
I love going into nature when I have a day off. I get a lot of energy back which I need for working on intense productions. It also clears my mind.
--Do you keep any particular creative style as a female artist?
Not too become to feminine in my style is important to me. I like contrasts and surprises. I don't want to produce work that is too expected from a woman.
--Were there any changes in your expression after becoming a mom?
Shortly after becoming a mum everything was rosé and cloudy. My brain was soft as ice cream. Now I am pretty much back to normal.
--Please tell us about the untold story behind the pop-corn installation in Japan.
The pop corn installation developed when I was walking through the streets from Kappabashi where all the restaurant supplies are sold. I went into a shop where a lot of packaging was sold and the stripes popcorn boxes did it to me. Miho wanted me to use the glass case in an original way. The dimensions of the case resembled a popcorn machine. With a simplified origami version- i filled it with popcorn and one box.
-- You've traveled Kyoto also this time. Where was your most favorite city in Japan?
I enjoyed the diversity of Tokyo most. I would have needed more time though to really discover Japan.
--And did you find any culture and fashion interested?
Japan has an incredible food culture which I enjoyed experiencing. Generally all cultures in Japan are very inspiring and new to me.
--Any upcoming projects in near future?
I am just working on a series of furniture pieces which are very graphical.
--Please give a message to the people coming to your exhibition.
Always look twice!
Miho Kinomura Special Interview
--How was working with Sarah Illenberger this time?
It's always tough to work with a foreign artist for the first time, but there were lots of new discoveries, and I enjoyed and learned a lot in the end.
--Did you have any difficulty in developing a creative production?
Working between the three cities (Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Berlin) was quite hard because of the time difference, but also the email and Skype communication. After visiting Berlin to see Sarah in March, we were finally able to share the images that we have and the process got bit easier.
--Where do you get your inspiration from? What inspires you?
I get my inspiration from these two genres - the latest trend and vintage. Since I am a photographer geek, all the trends from all the different genres of fashion magazines, fashion blogger's blogs around the world, and internet research such as FANCY, PINTEREST will go straight to my head naturally. I also like vintage goods, architecture, fashion and movie, so I like to mix the latest trend with my inspiration from such old things.
--You are based in L.A., how does it affect to your creative career?
For me, the place is to escape from the cities like Tokyo, New York and Paris. Most of the time, I meet and work with so many people, but I don't have to do this here. L.A. is the place that I can go back to more human thinking, natural thinking by going back to the place surrounded by beach and mountains.
--How does collaboration with other creators affect your own creations?
I like to work with new people and I like to keep trying new things, so any kind of collaboration with creator from the different genre of photography, fashion, art, music and movie that I wasn't familiar with inspires me a lot. And working with world-leading creators gives me a good opportunity to rethink my work all over again.
--Do you have any favorite artists or film directors?
I like both kinds of creator who has cuteness and beauty, or insanity and lurid element.
Film Director - Chris Cunningham, Wong Kar Wai.
Fashion photographer - Nick Knight, Tim Walker.
--What kind of projects are you working on right now? Is there anything you would like to try in near future?
I am working on 2013 christmas project in collaboration with an artist for cosmetic brand. In future, I would like to try directing a feature-length movie.
--Finally, please give a message to the people coming to the exhibition.
The Kaleidoscope movie that I've directed consists of a lot of pictures I've taken in Berlin. It would be fun to imagine which pictures have been used to develop the movie. It's adorable but creepy, and it has a sense of humor and lurid elements. Please come and experience this art world that Sarah has created. I can guarantee that you can feel an intriguing vibe of Berlin here.