Alexandra de Kempf interview

By Vincent Echenique (Twitter @VinceEchenique Instagram: @FFmvincent)

People define themselves as true artists when they just create to express themselves. It is a process that can begin at very young ages. However, many others might take their time to recognise their close relationship to a practice that could pose a challenge to their way of living. The dedication to art is particularly rewarding for its creator when their works reflect the intention meant.

Subjectivity is the biggest characteristic of art and it plays an meaningful role in successful perception of a piece from the very point of view of the artist. It turns risky when another unexpected impression arises and the intention and ideas are misunderstood or stay untapped, thus causing unexpected reactions amongst the spectators. This might lead to success or misfortune of an artist.

At the beginning of their professional careers as  artists, many artists do not dwell on that topic, but they eventually have to learn to deal with it.

On this week One on One edition,  we talked with Alexandra de Kempf, a Germany based Venezuelan painter and sculptress,  and tackled, amongst other things, this issue of successfully creating art to make of it both a living and a way of living.

For her, art is a personal conception of expression. “My art is just the humble expression of my feelings. It is the response to my spiritual search for meaning. And a game, in which I constantly play and I experiment,” she said. At work, De Kempf has learnt to deal with subjects like womanhood, animals and plants, thus making them pivotal in her visual language.

Being an immigrant provided her with other topics that she addresses in what she does. “For the last 17 years, since I emigrated to Germany, I have been dealing with challenging issues regarding acceptance, career choices, human relations, and social and cultural interactions. They have all been new experiences in an unfamiliar and sometimes hostile context in a language and cultural environment that are not my own.., “  de Kempf explained. The way left to cope with all that turned out to be something that she had been developing for years already, her talent to conceive art. “All that pushed me towards my art as a tool, to “work out” my feelings through my art. I feel fascinated also by the organic forms of nature. I associate curves to the feminine nature, but this does not exclude the possibility to work with other more rigid shapes in the future.” She continued.

As an artist, she tries to stay tuned with what other colleagues are doing, even though it is difficult, she said:

"I try to keep up to date with the artistic environment worldwide, more than the local one. I feel a certain uneasiness when I see that the market “kidnaps”  art as a commodity. I worry that art is not being appreciated only from the “love-of-art” perspective, but only as an investment that should yield profit in the future. I also have difficulties understanding some of the art-provocateurs, when the only way to make the artistic news is to become a “scandal” horrifying, or disgusting the consumer". 

As she said, De Kempf has been around for 17 years already in Germany.

Nevertheless, she admired surrealism´s painter like Salvador Dali, René Magritte and Duchamp, who at their time could have been seen as provocateurs due to the way they tackled issues. She also was fascinated by Egon Schiele´s work. Klimt and Kahlo in painting and Uelsmann´s photography were her "main influence". "I love surrealism, be it in painting, scuplture or photography" she added. Despite living in Germany, she did not feel specially attracted to German artists, even though there were some wonderful artists of Neo Rauch´s or Helmut Newton´s caliber, she sorted out.

The workout of personal issues is what helps her out the most to start a piece. She tries to work them around, first, to understand them better and to eventually express herself. "I feel like “composing” out of a bunch of images laying in front of me. Sometimes I just grab a piece of clay to do “something, ” or start playing around with found objects and wire.", said De Kempf. Based on life experiences, anybody could have a lot to tell in a work. Difficult is to find the right way out to do that. "I have tons of projects in my head and plenty of sketches in my sketch books. Finishing is nowadays easier than in the past: you always think you can improve something, make it better. But time has taught me to let things rest and look back after a while, so I can finish nicely instead of making a mess or ruining a good piece." she finished.

De Kempf completely committed to art, lives for it and tries to pass it on. In fact, she runs a school where she teaches regular people how to paint or work with artistic materials.

See De Kempf´s work on

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