Converse Highlight of the Week: Ilona Sagar

The RCA graduate and Converse Emerging Artists Award entrant dissects how people interect in public and private spaces

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Our final submission for the Converse Emerging Artitsts Award comes from Ilona Sagar, freshly graduated form Richard Wentworth's Sculpture MA at the Royal College of Art. Moving to London for her BA at Goldsmiths, Sagar initially wanted to go into theatre or directing but in art found a more 'fluid' way to communicate, working with language abstractly and employing 'the notion of theatre as a material'. She collaborates with dancers, choreographers, writers and architects 'trespassing' on other disciplines in her expanded sculptural practice. In the three screen installation ‘Unsound House’, she explores 'sensory saturation' in an exploration of the language of the mediocre and 'the semiotics present in the architecture and design of a show home'.

The shared codes of the museum, gallery, civic space, church and theatre and virtual realm have become the foundations of my practice because they demonstrate a clarity of spatial and social structure which can be universally understood

Dazed Digital: What would you say your work is about?
Ilona Sagar: My work explores our shared interactions in both public and private space. I often use the processes involved in making to construct a sense of fractured narrative. The shared codes of the museum, gallery, civic space, church and theatre and virtual realm have become the foundations of my practice because they demonstrate a clarity of spatial and social structure which can be universally understood. Illusion and material [dis]honesty set the stage for works which seek to seduce...

DD: Describe your process...
Ilona Sagar: I always approach making new work, first through thinking intuitively about space I’m considering and its context. I’m fascinated by the bond between the physical, sculptural form and the less tangible effects of video, photography and performance. Audio acts as both a dislocation and a connecting element which has a profound impact on our physical and cognitive experience of the world.

DD: Your influences?
Ilona Sagar: Alvar Aalto, Gottfried Semper, Ikea, Bauhaus, Anna Minton, ‘London nobody knows’ - Norman Cohen, Cathedrals and Show homes

DD: Best artist of all time?
Ilona Sagar: I couldn’t possibly choose one. I admire many artists who and are legendary in different ways; Dan Graham, Yvonne Rainer, John Smith, Roni Horn, Ryan Trecartin, Paul McCarthy, Andrea Fraser to name a few greats…

DD: Best show you've seen in the last six months?
Ilona Sagar: Christina Mackie ‘Painting the Weights’ at The Chisenhale has stuck with me. Mackie used the interface between scientific arguments and their virtual illustration as a way of inhabiting a number of artistic strategies.

DD: If you could be represented by any gallery?
Ilona Sagar: There are galleries who I really admire curatorially, who support interesting artists and put on shows which are challenging rather than being purely commercially driven. Galleries like Matt’s Gallery, Chisenhale and even Hauser & Wirth.

DD: Your dream show?
Ilona Sagar: My impossible dream show would be to make something inside the Villa Savoye near Paris when it was abandoned 1940’s. Back to the present, I’d like to return to the Barbican Estate, as I feel I have unfinished business there.

DD: Your next project?
Ilona Sagar: I am in the initial stages of a commission for the Architectural Association in London. The film will be screened as a part of their research and arts programme and is supported by the Architecture Journal (AJ). In November I will be doing a residency and publication launch at the Villa Arson in Nice, I’m also working toward a project at Frieze Art Fair.

DD: If money was no object?
Ilona Sagar: That would be nice! I would buy a 1930’s art deco garage and turn it into an amazing studio/ house and exhibition space. I found one… I just don’t have the pennies to buy it!

DD: Why you get up in the morning?
Ilona Sagar:
Because I really enjoy what I do. Even when things get difficult, I can’t really imagine doing anything else.

More info on the Converse Emerging Artists Award HERE

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