In advance of her show ONLY IN HEAVEN, Sara Zielinski had the chance to ask Sara Zielinski a few questions about the unique nature of the show. It takes place in her apartment and features a wide variety of media. Creating "a printed environment," Zielinski turned her home first into a studio and then into an exhibition space.
Your home is your studio or your studio is your home?
Both. It's my home first, studio second. I'm living in total immersion in my work. Any direction I look, any surface I see, is covered in my images. Every time someone comes over, it's a mini studio visit. People spontaneously make comments about the images surrounding them. This wasn't my intention, but I like the result and I learn a lot by listening.
You're having a show in your apartment?
Yes. Each room has a theme, specific to the type of room it is. The theme of the black and white bedroom, full of sex and memories and nightmares, is the most personal. The living room houses a broader range of imagery and features highlights of color. The kitchen is lighter and features more food and much more color. The theme of the bathroom is bathroom, complete with printed toilet paper.
The installations are a kind of visual diary and their being in my living space echoes that.
This show is a bit of a gesamtkunstwerk. Can you tell me about that?
I just learned that term and I love the idea of it. I love the idea of an artist's employing as many art forms as possible to create a single work. My work stretches across many media because my media choice depends on what each project requires to achieve its goal.
I also rely heavily on arts and crafts techniques I learned as a kid -- liberally using Sculpey, embroidery thread, and glitter, and, occasionally, pompoms.
Did you develop any new techniques in making these installations?
Definitely. Before November I had never printed etchings on fabric or silkscreened on walls, I'd never made a quilt or even thought about how to make a slipcover. There was endless experimentation involved in this project. With the goal of making or re-making as many items in my apartment as possible, a lot of this project was about discovery and figuring out what would work. Innovation and evolution are crucial to my artmaking, and this project involved a great deal of both.
This sounds labor intensive. Why do all of that work? So many of the pieces that compose the installation could be mass-produced or ordered online, and in most homes they are.
I care deeply about the handmade. In a world that depends increasingly on the technological, the digital, the virtual, I am committed to rebelling against that by embracing my reality as human, imperfect. Making and revising marks in Sharpie, ink, or drypoint doesn't allow for total erasure. All of my mistakes are left on the page or wall, giving history to the pieces. The imperfections betray the process. My work reveals my obsessions with process and tactility, recording and remembrance.
That being said, I did have to order just a couple of things to complete the work: printed toilet paper (for safety reasons) and temporary tattoos.
There are so many faces watching me from your walls.
You can't get too lonely in here.
This seems a little self-obsessed.
I can't really argue that.
Only in Heaven will be open in the artist's East Village apartment on February 28. Exact address available on request through www.sarazielinski.com.