Visiting the Taulan Art Factory during its open day I discovered Livia Gnos art studio, a big space with ancient wooden floors, white and burgundy walls, a vintage desk in front of two casement windows overlooking the surrounding forest, and her art spread all over the place conforming a harmonious composition.
I walked in, and then I saw her, a fresh and smiley women surrounded probably by fans, family and friends. The way she speaks is delicate and calm, she has a smooth Swiss German accent, but she pronounces each word with precision, like the lines she paints in her compositions.
Big art pieces were lying on the floor, in a Zen attitude, inviting to contemplation or waiting for inspiration to come. I can imagine her, working on those pieces like a Japanese women focusing in detail and tradition during the tea ceremony. She seems to love rituals, to play with full and emptiness, symbols and signs. Her work has a universal language trough the use of trans-cultural symbols.
Livia was born in the German-speaking Switzerland. She spent a year as a student in a small village in rural Finland, living with a family, where she learned the language and she fell in love with this country and its discreet and honest inhabitants. This marked her deeply to the point she says that part of her soul is Finnish.
This experience led her later to visit Scandinavia several times, from Greenland, where she spent a summer painting houses, to Iceland, where she studied for a semester, and where she returned in artistic residency during winter 2013, accompanied by her musician husband who released his “Double Spiral” disc after this trip. She did also spent some time in Japan, where she went for a research job and exhibited her work in 2015. Reminiscences of all those countries and cultures can be appreciated in her art, and I would dare to say, also in her way of working.
She works with Indian ink and watercolors; both share in their composition the same element, water that comes to reveal the color traces as it flows. Then the water disappears for us to witness this optic transition from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional like surface. “This interaction between optics and psychology is what makes me stay on paper” she says.
Her creations have a graphic approach. She uses painting as an expression of language. The image becomes a kind of mandala. Her art is hypnotic, its execution and contemplation is almost like a meditation exercise. Livia play with lights, applying different layers of Chinese ink to obtain a velvet effect that increases this hypnotic sensation. She pushes the limits going into an almost trans precision when painting vibrating curves over monochromatic backgrounds.
Many of her projects start with a spiral or line: it looks like an intuitive work, but there is a lot of discipline behind her art. A kind of discipline that releases a huge freedom: no need to decide, no hesitation during the creative process, just letting it flow.
“I create images that can talk to anyone” Livia says. Her images talked to me, in a trans-cultural kaleidoscopic way, getting me confused about what is inside and what is outside, remembering me that I have to focus on what is important in life, and I have to give myself permission to leave the rest to become just blurred lines.
I really enjoyed meeting Livia Gnos and immersing myself in her universe. I highly recommend you to discover this artist and her work, a jewel in our region.
Keep an eye on her following projects:
– Individual exhibition at Arcadia in Geneva, opening on May 3, 2018.
– “Difference and repetition” abstract artists exhibition in Sunaba Gallery, in Osaka, in June 2018.
– Her work “Concentration” is to be seen at the Bains de Pâquis in Geneva until May 2018.
– Open House of Montreux artists on May 5 and 6, 2018.