Artist Spotlight: Aurelie Sorriaux

In this editorial series Artsted is offering a dive into the stories of artists, taking them on a weekly discovery sprint: learn about the practice, process, philosophy and conceptual research behind the platform’s best contemporary creators.

Hi Aurelie! How are you today? Would you mind telling the readers a bit about yourself?

Hi! I am Aurélie Sorriaux, 26 years old. I am from France and I am now living in Amsterdam. I describe myself as a visual artist using photography as my primary medium.

In Search of my Curls, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, NL, 2020

When did you realize you wanted to become an artist?

I think after my first diploma in photography in France, I already started to grow as a photography artist. However, I would say that I am now fully developing myself as an artist since I graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, in Amsterdam, where I learnt a lot about my process as much as myself and what I want to do as an artist. I think I realised I was an artist when I became conscious and acknowledged that I have things to say, things to create and I cannot avoid doing it.

In Search of my Curls, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, NL, 2020

What is your creative process like, and what are the special techniques that you use?

One part in my process is the research. I need this first approach to better grasp my subject. For instance, after my exploration on rocks and before developing ‘In Search of my Curls’, I met geologists and geneticists. However, it is difficult to translate knowledge-based research into visual work. This is where I always feel the need to start creating and experimenting with the medium. I learnt to always follow my intuition, even before completely knowing how things will develop. When I have an idea or a project, I have to fully explore it. On my latest project, I spent months scanning my family archives and extracting part of the images. None of these images were used at the editing process but it allowed me to clarify my intentions, visually and conceptually.

How would you define yourself as an artist?

I would describe myself as a visual artist mainly working in the medium of photography. I use the medium as a tool for investigations about ancestry, family history and archaeology. My photographs are visual explorations through memory experience and the complex state of existence. From ‘LAND’, an exploration through analogue prints of landscape, to ‘In Search of my Curls’, the question of traces from the past and the remains of existence are always there. These subjects intrigue me, from art to science research. In my recent photo project titled ‘In Search of my Curls’, I examine my own heritage and look at what stays in the family.

Cringe — the Anticipation of Touch, Stedelijk Museum, NL, 2018

Who are your art world role models? Is there anyone who inspires you?

Artists whose work relates to the sense of time and the fragility, like Adam Jeppesen, inspire me. Having the chance of working with him, I learn a lot from his way of seeing and thinking about the art. The question of the materiality of the photograph as well as the notions of identity and the lost memory are themes that interest me. Laurent Lafolie and Thomas Hauser who create artistic projects on these subjects inspire me as well.

In Search of my Curls, FOAM Museum, NL, 2020

Tell us about a memorable experience: maybe a show you have had that was really exciting.

When I exhibited ‘In Search of my Curls’ at my graduation show, I received many reactions and exchanges about family heritage, the memories and their interest in their roots as well. I think nowadays the question of identity has become a general interest and the exchange with the audience has made me more aware of it. Being the first time my project was presented to the audience, I appreciated how my work was speaking to the viewers.

How did your 2020 go, did lockdown change the relationship you have with your work?

The isolation definitely made my production slower, but it also obliged me to focus on what is the most important. I think life always influences the work as our work is such a part of ourselves. By reducing the possibilities, the pandemic made me question myself even more about what I want to talk about and experiment. It also helps me to think simpler and more direct.

Can abstraction exist in photography, FR, 2016

What are some of the future projects you are excited about?

Two years ago, I explored my fascination for rocks and geology. The project I produced from that brought me to my last work about the transmission in family. I experimented with the silkscreen technique and created ‘ROCKS I’. From 2D print, the silkscreen almost creates a 3D feeling. I want to explore more of this layering process. So, my next projects are to realise more prints of rocks in silkscreen and to experiment in order to improve the technique and at the end, maybe have my two last projects — which are already linked to me — visually come together.

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