Can you talk about the importance of electrical plugs and about the gilding process?
I am interested in the way we neglect plugs – generally. We tend to hide them behind doors, cupboards, TV racks, computer desks…we even place the sockets as near to the floor as possible to avoid looking at them. There is no socket or plug fashion, design labels or trend for them.
Nowadays, plugs are like the air we breathe; they are necessary to keep our contemporary lives going.
The gilding process was a tricky one. When I had the idea I never imagined it would take me two years to make it. I had to learn how to gild on plastic! Not that I knew how to god before but the problem was that every thing I found about gilding was for traditional materials. So I had to develop my own process. I had to find the right glue (size) and the right time to leave it drying out,; then the right plug shape and the right plug plastic itself as all these affected the gilding.
What does “site specific” mean to you?
I was trained as a photographer and even though I don’t use photography as my main media the photographer’s eye is ingrained in the way I see the world. Like any photographer, I am interested in the everyday life and what I find appealing is usually taken for granted. I always try to see something new about an object, a situation, and a place… how things are never quite as they seem. I look for the “behind the scenes”- how something is made or where it comes from, how a habit evolved or even if it is the same everywhere in the world. So site-specific for me is like taking that picture from a very ordinary place but that no one else saw that angle before. Generally speaking, I believe there are things that we see, there are others we don’t and there are things that become invisible to us. So I try to change the ordinary context of the place.
Why are you drawing with tape?
Materials are very important in my artwork. Nothing I use to make art was just there. Everything has a reason. It has to make sense at least in my head.
I like to know that the tape is a very ordinary thing that we all have at home, just like plugs and it also allows me to simply peel it off once the installation period is finished. I could talk about why I use the tape for hours…there are so many layers of interpretation.
Can your work be described as a contemporary pop art?
I never thought this way, it’s hard to put labels but certainly it has a a lot conceptual art and if people think it’s pop art, I don’t mind. It’s a compliment, I guess.
Does the cooperation with 139 artspace bring anything new into the project?
Certainly, it was the first time I made the installation in a place where people are not searching for the wi-fi connection. I usually make it in very public places with free wi-fi so I was a bit concerned that the meaning would still be there. Also, its location is great for the piece as lots of people pass in front of it; people that not necessarily are looking for art.
I think it’s quite easy to talk to art lovers, the trick is to reach the ones that wouldn’t be going to an art show. These people are very important to me. So, if the passengers on the buses passing by have a quick glance at the work and then spend a couple of seconds intrigued by what they are seeing, I’m super happy. London needs more places like 139artspace!
Dani Tagen is a contemporary artist interested in the everyday-life. She works in various medium including installations, prints, performance and site-specific. She holds a Master in Contemporary Art and Teaching from Goldsmiths University London. She was awarded the CAPES scholarship from the Brazilian Ministry of Education to study photography at City of Westminster College, London.
She lives and works in London.