Sunday, July 7, 2013


Sylvia Schwenk_A shared space (video still)_2012_single channel DVD with sound, colour_duration 7:05 min

Every day throughout the Collaborateurs exhibition, we will be sharing an interview with one of the exhibiting artists...


How did you and The Gravedigger first meet?

I was working on an art commission in Europe and most days I would ride my bike past a cemetery close to where I lived. One day I got off my bike and went for a walk in the cemetery. It was such a beautiful tranquil space with green grass and blossoming flowers.

I sat on a bench in the cemetery listening to the quietness of the space, watching people tending graves, watering plants and spending time with their loved ones.

I was transported while sitting there and felt I needed to do a work of art about death - so I approached the Director of the graveyard and talked about my ideas of making a short film about what happens in preparing a grave for a burial.

Why did you choose to collaborate with The Gravedigger?

Death is such an important part of life and for many people it is a part of their everyday lives. Yet as a society we generally feel uncomfortable talking about death, funerals and grief.

I thought it would be good to make a work that looked at all these things in an accessible way and so I worked with two gravediggers, filming them as they prepared a grave for a burial.

What is it about collaboration as a process that appeals to you as a contemporary artist?

Sharing experiences, ideas and time with people.

What is it that you hope to realise through this collaborative project?

I wanted to make death more accessible. However, when I filmed the gravediggers an unusual thing happened, which changed the nature of the work.

I was unsure what to do with what transpired, but ended up presenting what I filmed, because this too is a part of life. 

Sylvia Schwenk will be exhibiting today, Sunday 7 July, from 3pm-9pm. 

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