We chat to Hong Kong-based French artist Ophelia Jacarini about her recent art projects, where she finds inspiration and her goals for 2021…
During the course of her career, Hong Kong-based French artist Ophelia Jacarini has explored the human form in large scale paintings, installations, photography, embroideries. Her artwork delves into the study of the female body, its sensuality, developmental processes and movement in dance. As well as exhibiting her work internationally, she was recently named the inaugural Eaton HK Award Winner for her debut exhibition entitled Manifest Ephemeral, previously held at the hotel’s independent art gallery Tomorrow Maybe. As part of her ongoing project, Ophelia has launched a thought-provoking digital photo sharing platform called Backstage which aims to challenge the stigma surrounding female nudity. Ahead, we speak to Ophelia to learn more about her recent art projects, where she finds inspiration and her goals for 2021.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you lived in Hong Kong?
I am a French visual artist. I have been based in Hong Kong for 6 years. My 17 years of ballet training, fine arts school and fashion schools acted as a combined intellectual exploration of time and space. It allowed me to see the human body in different concepts and transformative states, and inspired me to create artwork combining elements of dance, fine arts and fabric.
Can you tell us about your work? What projects are you currently working on?
My previous art project, titled Manifest Ephemeral, was centred on the themes of movement and ephemerality. I am currently exploring the impact of the patriarchy on the female body and behaviour through my ongoing online performance project, Backstage.
What encouraged you to become a visual artist? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
I have tried to not be an artist. But as challenging as being an artist can be sometimes, I always fail to live another life. It seems this is the only thing I can do.
What does it take to produce your own exhibition?
I would say believing in yourself is the most important thing. As an independent artist I have to take on multiple roles, from artist to curator, manager and so on. I pick up new skills each time. A curator’s job is like a movie director’s in that you need to oversee every detail of the production, so it helps to be extremely organised. If you can work well with others that helps too as it takes many skilled people to put on a successful exhibition.
Would you say it is challenging to make it as an artist in Hong Kong?
It is challenging to be an artist everywhere. From my personal experience though, I would say Hong Kong is a great place for up-and-coming artists. As part of my Manifest Ephemeral project, I am currently in the process of developing a technology that would allow me to capture dance movement in a fabric and turn a soft and fluid material into a strong and static form. Hong Kong has given me the opportunity to meet all the right people, from investors to technology experts and advisors.
What are five goals you have for this year?
- Find the right technology to achieve my project.
- Incorporate blockchain to my practice by offering my digital work on cryptocurrency platforms.
- Explore more collaborations with other artists, dancers, and photographers.
- Share more about my ongoing Backstage project over discussion panels, podcasts and talks.
- Find more opportunities to showcase my work through exhibitions.
What are three things you do to maintain work-life balance in your day-to-day?
I practice yoga everyday, it is my important “me time” part of the day. But the truth is, I love what I do and it is hard for me to stop working. I guess I should add a sixth goal into my previous answer: establish a work-life balance.
Where do you go to find inspiration?
I do not go to a specific place for it. I find inspiration in the most random places. For example, it was at a fire station parking lot in Washington D.C that inspired me to start my Manifest Ephemeral project. I think the idea was already in my mind, but it appeared clearly to me there when it could have happened anywhere else.
Who are your favourite artists and what makes them stand out to you?
Louis Bourgeois for the way she created works embodying a singular language in feminist expression. I also really admire Egon Schiele because in his art, he makes sex look beautiful, and the body poetic. He was a feminist artist ahead of his time.
If you had one piece of advice to give to aspiring artists, what would it be?
Believe in yourself and work hard.
Images courtesy of Ophelia Jacarini.