Following a private view at Londonewcastle Project Space, Hotel Kalifornia, we have had the opportunity to interview talented artist Heidi Locher.
You studied architecture and had your own architectural practice prior to pursuing a MA in Fine Art at CSM. How does this experience influence your work in Fine Art?
The two are totally inter-linked. Both ‘roles’ are conceptually led and since my concerns, in whatever I am designing or creating, are with intensity and atmosphere one leads very easily to the other. I like it that I can do both. In architecture and design, you always have to resolve questions that have been posed in the quest for some kind of ideal or perfection. In art, your job is to explore those notions while unearthing deeply personal feelings. Artists and designers are lucky as we get to express ourselves fully through our work, whether it be in the design of a hotel or through delving into feelings of disengagement and hidden memory that might be acted out in a hotel such as in the Hotel Kalifornia exhibition.
What inspired Hotel Kalifornia?
Hotel Kalifornia was inspired by a trip to LA, to visit my writer friend Simon Moore. One night driving along Sunset Strip with the Eagles song playing on the radio, we were discussing what marked us when growing up and the seed of the idea was planted.
What story are you telling through this rich exhibition of projections, installations, photography and a short film?
The Hotel Kalifornia exhibition centres on a short film, made in collaboration with Frederick Paxton, which explores the notion of hidden memories and deep personal anguish. It is a haunting investigation into moments of change that leave mental scars hidden deep within the subconscious. The hotel, a container in which to live, houses the traces of these events and becomes a vessel for these memories. Filmed within a modern hotel room created by Studio Locher, it has three sections each focusing on one of the three stages of a woman’s life but, poignantly, all the roles are played by the same actress. The terrible moment of change is seen through the eyes of the child. The teenager suffers the consequences of the trauma while the adult experiences the ultimate cathartic release that, in turn, brings redemption. The slow-motion footage, stylised white lighting and penetrating detail, heighten the physical and emotional aspects creating a ghost-like and claustrophobic atmosphere.
What would your ideal living place be like?
Probably the house I have just finished in Hampstead transported to California. Hidden behind a discrete giant white gate we have endeavoured to create a serene world of clean lines and abundant light. It’s a sanctuary. Hugh Graham of the Times described it as “one of David Hockney’s paintings transported to London”.