Inguna Gremzde makes miniature landscape paintings in plastic bottle tops. At the London Art Fair, we're showing a new series, Landscape collection for subconscious need, which Inguna tells us all about below.
Inguna Gremzde's miniature paintings, executed on plastic bottle caps, examine our relationship with the natural world. She argues that urban, consumerist lifestyles have alienated us from nature and limited our capacity to identify with landscape.
Historically, miniatures are tiny worlds on their own. A miniature work affords a closer look and on that closer look, a “secret life” is revealed, where narratives and histories, beyond the original concept, are formed. "The more skilfully I can create a miniature version of the world" Gremzde says "the more I feel I have possessed it." She finds parallels between the act of painting in miniature and our desire for material ownership and consumption. She also sees these works as a reference to the shrinking space of untouched nature. Once miniature paintings were treasures; now these small landscapes speak of the necessity for human beings to treasure their natural environment again.
Interview with Inguna Gremzde
Tell us about your interest in the miniature tradition. What first prompted you to begin creating miniature works?
In a metropolis with an enormous amount of waste generated every day, recycling bottle caps in the form of artwork felt almost like a moral obligation. Being portable was also an important issue at the time. So the size of the caps dictated the scale of work.
I was doing figurative and cityscape painting before coming to London. In such a big city with dense population nature can only be experienced in the form of parks, and that missing nature element turned my attention towards landscape painting.
Conceptually, miniature scale could be regarded as a reference to the shrinking space of untouched nature. Historically, miniature pictures were treasures and now these small landscapes speak of the necessity to be treasured.
Inguna Gremzde, Landscape Collection for Subconscious Need, 2012
Do you paint directly into the caps or paint on paper and place them into the caps?
The landscape is painted on a card (a bit thicker than paper), then the card is placed in a cap, which serves as a contemporary frame. Sky views occupy blue caps, meadows and woods live in different shades of green caps. Some scenes with trees are surrounded by the frame of red cap referencing perhaps endangered landscape.
Inguna Gremzde, Small World (detail), 2011
How long does each cap take to make?
It is a simple question, but also very difficult one to answer. I've been trying to time myself but, once in the painting process, the time is lost. Preferably it should be done quite fast because light keeps changing. In best cases a few a days as it is a rather eye straining process.
Contributed by Ruth Wilbur
Ruth is Projects and Media Producer at Axisweb.