La Prairie’s latest artistic initiative is inspired by the Bauhaus, the pioneering art school originally founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, and which, before its closure by the Nazis in 1933, nurtured the careers of students including Anni and Josef Albers, Max Bill and Xanti Schawinsky. Five young women talents, recently graduated from renowned global art and design schools, were selected to form the Women Bauhaus Collective by La Prairie. Undergoing a programme of engagement with the Bauhaus’s legacy and mentorship by leading designer Sabine Marcelis – named ‘Designer of the Year 2021’ by Wallpaper magazine – the Collective ultimately created artworks guided by the theme of ‘The Pursuit of Harmony’ – reflecting La Prairie’s commitment to anchoring the ‘harmony of youth’. One of the members of the Women Bauhaus Collective by La Prairie, London-based Talia Golchin, spoke to Frieze Week about the journey.
Frieze Week: Can you tell us about joining the Women Bauhaus Collective and what it entailed?
Talia Golchin: Shortly after receiving my MA in Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins in 2021, I was invited to take part in the Women Bauhaus Collective project and residency supported by La Prairie, in collaboration with Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. Under the mentorship of award-winning Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis, I created a series of artworks using a variety of media that represents my take on the theme ‘The Pursuit of Harmony’.
FW: How did you respond to this theme?
TG: I instantly connected with the theme of ‘The Pursuit of Harmony’, since the connectivity of the body with its surroundings is central to my work. My recent practice has focused on ambiguities and questions around my own female body. In the series ‘Umbilics’ (2021), for instance, I deconstructed the body into parts that were reconfigured through interlocking curves.
In Euphoria (2022), my work for La Prairie, I respond to harmony through synergy between the body, the mind and the universe. The shape of a circle represents the continuous and indestructible flow of energy between these three elements, and also depicts the building blocks of the body in the form of individual ‘cells’. In the 3D animation, the spherical body remains still, while circles flow harmoniously within and around the body. In the sculpture, spheres, circles and curved forms are layered in various shapes using transparent epoxy resin and Plexiglass. The title, Euphoria, describes harmony in the way I imagine a state of intense happiness.
The power dynamics between male and female have had a significant influence on my life and my art: power, the structure of power, is a recurring theme in all my work. Now, I am in a place where I have accepted myself and my power as a woman. Importantly, I have fewer doubts about my abilities as a woman, and as an artist, which has led to a transition in my practice to creating work that views power from a different perspective.
FW: How did you balance the digital and physical in this process?
TG: For this particular project, animation combined with a physical sculpture felt like the right approach, since I wanted to capture the feeling of harmony through the movement of energy. I am happy that we have both the digital and the physical experience of the artwork. Some concepts can only be explored in the digital realm and then translated into a physical form, which is something that I’d like to investigate further in my work.
FW: Did the example of Bauhaus artists and designers inform this approach?
TG: The Bauhaus movement focuses on nature and internal connection as part of the creative process – expressing what feels natural through colour, form and material. This resonated with me, as intuition is an important ingredient in my practice, and my artworks address both emotion and science. These notions are translated into simple shapes, the careful selection of colours and the rhythmic movement of cells to create harmony.
In my animation, the formation of cells through and around the abstract female form represents life and creation. Energy and movement are the basis of the life cycle that flows harmoniously through the body as well as within the wider universe. I try to achieve balance and harmony in the movement of circles, the symmetry of the work and the colour palette.
FW: What was it like to be mentored by Sabine Marcelis?
TG: Sabine has extensive experience and insight in the creative industry. In particular, her knowledge of materiality has proven highly valuable. I enjoyed exchanging ideas with her, and it is empowering to have a female mentor supporting my practice. She also has an amazing workshop in Rotterdam where we developed our sculptures.
FW: What are some of the pressures and challenges that women face in this sector?
TG: Speaking from my own experiences, I think every aspect of being an artist is affected by gender. It is a very competitive field and we need more women supporting each other. To that end, taking part in this project was an enriching experience where I joined forces with talented female artists of different creative backgrounds to form a powerful female collective. I believe it’s important for women in the creative sector to share and discuss their experiences and struggles to create a safe and supportive space to grow.
FW: What are you looking forward to during Frieze Week?
TG: Eccentric people wearing eccentric clothes, parties and, of course, lots of art …
FW: What will you be focusing on in your forthcoming projects?
TG: Bodies, robots, creatures and vintage machinery.
Talia Golchin’s commission for the Women Bauhaus Collective by La Prairie, Euphoria, is on view at the La Prairie Lounge throughout the week.
Main image: Talia Golchin, Euphoria, 2022. Courtesy: La Prairie