Venice Diaries: Mentoring with Kevin Hunt

Although it’s a couple of months since new Fine Art graduate Anna Rogers returned from her time in Venice invigilating at the Welsh Pavilion, she is continuing to benefit from taking part in the Arts Council of Wales Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice Invigilation Plus programme, supported by CSAD.  Here she tells us about the mentoring session she had with artist Kevin Hunt, at g39.

“On the 19 August I met with Kevin Hunt for an informal mentoring session about my work. These are being offered to us as part of the Cymru yn Fenis Invigilator Plus programme in order to help us develop our practice post-Venice invigilation. I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and talk about my practice with anyone since my tutorials with my lecturers in the run up to my degree show so it was good (and reassuring) to have some feedback on that work, having had a bit of distance from it.

“I talked to Kevin about what, in hindsight, was successful about the work and what wasn’t. We talked about a degree show as a starting point from which to develop other projects and make further art. It was so easy to see my final degree show piece as an end point and not for what it was, which was (hopefully!) the beginning of my self-directed artistic practice.

“We unpicked what interested me most about the work I made and continue to make, which is connecting people to environments and experiences. We discussed spacial intervention and narrative by looking at work such as Making Do and Getting By by Richard Wentworth in which he observes absurd solutions to physical problems that are whimsical portrayals of human behaviour.

“What interests me most about the work I made and continue to make, is connecting people to spaces and experiences through disrupting their physical environments. I loved watching people interact with my degree show installation and talking to them about how they experienced it which in the end became more important than what drove me to make it in the first place.

“We talked about some of the work I saw in Venice, such as Marina Abramović at the Palazzo Fortuny and Lise Reihana at the New Zealand Pavillion and discussed how my interest in people and human experiences could have more of a dominant role in my work.

“I had attended Kevin’s talk the previous night where he talked about an e-flux journal article entitled The Internet Does Not Exist which I am STILL trying to wrap my head around (IS the internet dead?!) and I happened to mention that I was then on a social media break because the constant access to terrible news was affecting me in ways I didn’t want it to. We talked about things he covered in his talk, such as the risk of comparison in relation to social media in terms of other people’s artistic practice. It’s very easy to feel discouraged when you see people uploading image after image of polished, finished work when you’ve not made anything in a while. But, of course, the information you are receiving is exactly what that person wants you to see, and can’t possibly represent the entire truth. Taking a break from social media has made me rethink the way I use it, as a tool for connectivity rather than one for isolation.”