OUR FEATURED ARTIST OF THE MONTH - EDWARD MENDELSOHN
Edward Mendelsohn is one of our regular artists who has displayed work in a number of themed events as well as seven of our annual LOUDEST WHISPERS exhibitions. As our oldest creative nonagenarian, it is a pleasure to see how his work consistently reflects the unique power, vision and sense of colour of a life still well lived alongside major changes in the world over 9 decades. The display of his work creates powerful and profound contrasts when installed alongside the work of younger artists.
I had the pleasure of visiting Edward in his home, and I was fascinated to hear his reminiscences of his friendship with Derek Jarman and to see the illustration of Jarman's large oil painting for the Slade School 1964 Degree Show which he showed me. Looking at Jarman and Edward's work I sensed within both a beautiful sense of architectural power.
We are proud to honour and be associated with Edward as our artist of the month.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SELF
'I was born in Vienna, Austria and was able to escape the persecution at the hands of Austrian Nazis, by being one of the children allowed to come to England on a ‘ Kindertransport’ as a refugee. After attending school in England I went to the School of Architecture, qualified and became a practising architect. Therefore architecture is my background and forms the foundation of all my art work.
Art was in fact included in the early part of the architecture training, and we did both drawing in the plaster cast room at V&A Museum as well as painting projects encouraging us to tap into and explore our own visual imagination and to get in touch with our inner selves.
In parallel there were on going lectures on the theory of architecture and design, as well as the principles of composition in art. The Russian Avant-garde, including Suprematism, Abstraction and Constructivism followed by the Bauhaus school figured prominently.
I was always interested in the interaction of 20th century and contemporary art with architecture. Therefore artists like Malevich, Kandinsky, Albers, Mondrian, Braque and Leger figured prominently and are the major influences in myself as an artist.
I first showed work in 1992 in the Loggia Gallery in London. At that stage my work was usually based on collage, which at that stage seemed my most natural medium. This work and indeed all my subsequent work was completely underpinned by my deeply ingrained principles of composition and my particular and personal aesthetic judgement.
Showing in exhibitions at yearly intervals became the regular pattern. Galleries included the RIBA, Mall Galleries, Croatian Embassy, Ben Uri Gallery, The Arts Project and others. In 2006 I had my first ‘one-man show‘ at the 12 Star gallery at the European union in London Additionally I have the unique honour of having in 1995 shown my work ‘in space‘ on the Mir space station in Ars ad Astra, the first art exhibition in Earth orbit.'
WHO OR WHAT ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCES ON YOUR WORK AND DEVELOPMENT AS AN ARTIST
'A lot of my earlier work would be seen as non-figurative or abstract. Such work I would myself have thought of in this light . 'However there is a great difference between nonfigurative and abstract. I began to realise that quite a number of my works, although thought of as non-figurative, did appear possibly to be abstractions of basic landscapes. Quite unintentionally my aesthetic judgements were being made with an unconscious impulse to reference landscapes. A major change in my work came about by the pressing question of the role of computer technology in our everyday lives. I began to feel that this technology could not just be ignored and that the creative process could not just be excluded. But how to make this leap from a craft-based process into a technology process? By exploration and trial and error I finally evolved the process which has worked for me. I now make compositional templates traditionally using a whole range of components all driven by my instinct and aesthetic judgement. This template I will digitally photograph and upload into my computer. From this point I will manipulate my template image and again relying entirely on my deeply ingrained feeling for composition and similarly my aesthetic judgement which tells me when I have finally reached the image of my choice. At that point the image is ready to be printed and becomes the original art print.'
WHAT DOES YOUR ART MEAN TO YOU
'I am in great awe at my realisation that everyone sees something different when indeed they are looking at the same image. What I as the creator have seen has nothing to do with what anyone else sees. What each of us sees comes entirely through our individual imagination. I fully accept that. And that seems to me the reason that art is a very powerful tool. I don’t create work with the intention to promote or influence causes. The meaning or pleasure or fascination or indeed rejection of my work lies entirely within the viewer. I can say that the energy that drives my ongoing work lies deep inside me and the combination of composition, aesthetic‘s and instinct remains my driving force.'
Thank you Edward for being our ARTIST OF THE MONTH