In the Studio: Tania Kovats, Artist
'I don't have an impulse to make work that looks like my work'
Saturday 29 September 2012
Tania Kovats lives in the Devon countryside with her long-term partner and fellow artist Alex Hartley and their son Frank. To give Frank more freedom, the family moved from a Shoreditch loft to this former mill house on the river Love. Kovats works high up in an attached mill tower, where two precipitous ladders narrow skyward to her ethereal space, although she also rents an industrial shed nearby to produce larger work.
Born in Brighton in 1966, Kovats studied in Newcastle before getting her MA at the Royal College of Art, London. Selected for the Barclays Young Contemporaries of 1991, she received the young artist award. Her notorious early work Virgin in a Condom resulted in large numbers of complaints wherever it was shown. Whether it was the resulting furore or making peace with her Catholic upbringing (she boarded at a convent), Kovats has more recently turned her attention predominantly to questions of archaeology, landscape and nature.
She recollects that on her first trip to Jupiter Artland, a private collection open to the public near Edinburgh and the site of one of Kovats's recent projects, she was encouraged to take a walk round the site to see if a place grabbed her. She explains: "The two works [at Jupiter] that I feel very connected to are the Ian Hamilton Finlay, Only Connect, and Stone House by Andy Goldsworthy. I knew I wanted to work with water. And then I heard water, this little trickle, right at the edge."
Returning to Devon, she chose to work with a local carpenter and joiner to create the boathouse that houses the 100 simple glass receptacles of water, collected from rivers across the British Isles, now comprising her Jupiter installation. What was the genesis of the work? "I think I wanted to bring all these rivers to one place. A simple impulse. To make a still place, even though I collected moving water." She acknowledges that "Rivers is an important work for me. I make a range of works, and that is one that got right in there."
I comment on her works' wide range, and she says, "I don't have an impulse to make work that looks like my work. Things don't repeat. I had a period where I had a formula with the landscapes embedded in the plinths, and a run of works working with light that I could predict what they would look like. I was losing my interest, as I want to surprise myself. I am comfortable with those differences. There are always connections. It is a charm bracelet and I stick on different things."
Jupiter Artland is open by appointment (jupiterartland.org)
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 3 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 5 Tony Abbott embarrasses Australia by praising Japanese WWII military, ‘getting on the sake’ and posing for ‘crotch-shot’ photo opportunity
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations