Prologue | Personal
Paula, imagine if the pandemic did not dominate our lives at the moment and we could meet in your home or in your studio. Where do we talk together, where do we meet you? We would probably meet in my studio, which is located in Leblon, a district near Ipanema, in Rio de Janeiro. My studio is in a small residential building where only artists live, and it is always wonderful to be there. The environment is great. My place is well-suited for my “wet” kind of work.
Paula Klien at her studio © Paula Klien
Where do you come from, where and when were you born? I was born on August twenty-third, in Rio de Janeiro, the CIDADE MARAVILHOSA (wonderful city in Portuguese), the only place where chaos and beauty fit perfectly together! How and where do you currently live and work? I live in Ipanema and I work in the aforementioned studio in Leblon.
Paula Klien © Paula Klien
Which stations and people have shaped you? I was basically shaped by the beach. I had the most beautiful childhood of all time. Until I was eight years old, I had never gone to school and was just alone with my parents, playing in the sand and the ocean of the Barra beach, which was all mine, as my father was one of the only people living there at the time. This was like paradise for me. I felt like I was living in the movie Blue Lagoon. Imagine Brooke Shields with jet black hair and dark eyes! I used to draw and paint with natural pigments and supports that I had available at the time. I was shaped by my parents and grandparents. It was a very creative period for me, without cellphones, without TVs, only nature. I relied only on my creativity to transform my world into something else. I transformed everything into art during that time. After that age, everything changed, and I had to learn many things, and I had to learn them fast. I got married in my early 20’s. I was very lucky, because my husband and his family were art experts and introduced me to this whole new world I am currently in. So, I learned a lot and I credit them with playing a huge part in shaping me.
Paula Klien during her work on “batismo”
(Baptism) © Paula Klien
Which writers do you currently find exciting and which books are on your bookshelf? Right now, I can’t find time to read, due to many work commitments I’m involved in. Which books have influenced or shaped you? The works of Nelson Rodrigues and Caio Fernando de Abreu. These are the kinds of authors I like. What are you currently reading and where do you keep the book? As I said, unfortunately I have no time to read at the moment.
Paula Klien at her studio with “margens plácidas”
(placid shores) © Paula Klien
What music do you listen to and when? I listen to classical music and rock ‘n’ roll on most occasions. Brazilian funk and Latin music when I’m excited (which is very often). I also listen to samba, but only during Carnival. If you would cook something for us, what would it be?Spaghetti with Pesto! What do you like to eat most? Pasta. What do you think about breakfast? I always wake up very hungry, and sometimes, I don’t even want to get up, but I do just to eat. However, as my appetite only grows as the day goes on, I try not to eat too much in the morning. So, my breakfast consists of a hot lemon shot, berry juice, yogurt, whole wheat bread with cream cheese, and coffee. What kind of sport or counterbalance to your work do you practice? I don’t exercise frequently but I am physically very flexible by nature. So, I love to stretch during the day, but not as something that I consider to be a proper sport or athletic activity. I just like to stretch now and then. Do you have special passions (hobbies) for which you are burning, and if so, which ones? I love free dancing and I’m always burning. What personality trait defines you? My intensity. Do you have a concern that you would like to share with us or a certain question (that we did not ask), which you would like to give an answer to? No, thank you.
Paula Klien at her studio with “para onde vc for eu vou”
(Where you go, I go) © Paula Klien
Interview | Artist+ Position
To begin, please tell us your artistic vita in a few sentences.
My work has been shown many times in Brazil and abroad. In Berlin, it was displayed in individual and group exhibitions at aquabitArt gallery and art fairs. It has also been featured in New York, Buenos Aires, Rome, Salerno, Florence and London at Saatchi Gallery. In Brazil, some of my solo exhibitions were curated by the main curators in Brazil, such as Marcos Lontra and Denise Mattar. I participated in the main art fairs in Brazil, such as SP-Arte, SP-Foto and ArtRio. My works are part of the collections of two very important museums: MON (Museu Oscar Niemeyer), which has The Last Portrait of Oscar Niemeyer, photographed by me, and MACS (Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Sorocaba), which houses two paintings of mine. I have also authored two photography books, shot many fashion campaigns and held several photo exhibitions over the course of my 10-year career.
Paula Klien, Expo © Paula Klien
Briefly explain your current project.
Right now, in addition to being in a group exhibition at aquabitArt gallery, I am totally involved in the world of NFTs. I’ve already launched my first collection at MakersPlace, and I’m currently preparing three new collections to be launched soon. The first collection was made in collaboration with Canadian artist JF Lemay, who gave life to one of my series of digigraphies, which are a mixture of ink drawings and photographs of weird, colorful objects inside an aquarium.
Paula Klien at aquabitArt gallery in Berlin (on the right and in the front on the left),
exhibition view UNMASKED #2 © aquabitArt gallery, Photo: René Löffler
What are you most concerned about at the moment; what is on your mind?
I am currently focused on keeping myself and my family safe during this pandemic.
How did you come to art? Why art?
Art is everywhere. I am art. You are art.
Paula Klien, River © Paula Klien
What makes you happy at the moment?
The opportunity of being so close to my family in our little cave.
What is currently scaring you?
I am scared of being afraid.
Do you believe that art has a social responsibility? And what do you think it can do?
It certainly does, but I think people sometimes use it in a wrong way for personal gain, and it’s something that I don’t agree with. Art can do a lot, in many different ways.
Paula Klien, River © Paula Klien
What makes your art special? What is it about – what are the central themes of your work?
It’s hard for me to say what makes it special, but a unique component would be the fact that past and future live harmoniously together in my art. Time flows in my waters, exposing our lack of control over situations in life and our ephemerality.
Read Paula Klien’s full answer to the question about her work in THE DEED | DAS WERK.
Während der Arbeit an “batismo” (Baptism) © Paula Klien
How do you protect yourself from too much inspiration these days?
As I know very well what I want from my work, I let all the information that comes to me dance freely in my mind. Sometimes, a ‘pas de deux’ can happen and the information may be useful somehow.
Paula Klien, “Precipitações” (Precipitations) © Paula Klien
How much in your works is planned in advance – how much is created intuitively?
My body of work was totally planned in advance and it took me a long time to elaborate it. That’s how you can see my signature on all of my works, even if it is not there. On the other hand, each of my artworks is 90% organic and I deal with accidents, chance and choices.
Paula Klien, “Fluvius” (River) © Paula Klien
What are your (next) goals?
To go on working and take over the world.
What is your opinion about faith? Do you have principles of faith or is there a motto?
I see nothing, I believe in everything. I was raised a Catholic, but I don’t consider myself exactly a Catholic. I pick what I like in each religion, make a vitamin shake and drink it, surrounded by lights and candles.
Which project would you still like to realize, if lack of time, courage or financial resources would not play a role?
I want to write a book. The book.
Paula Klien, “casa” (House) © Paula Klien
What do you consider to be attributes of good art?
I think art has to make people think and has to stimulate their senses. Commitment with aesthetic beauty is not mandatory, but, personally, I am very inclined toward appreciating beauty in art. Quality is very important. Furthermore, art can communicate something if that is the artist’s will.
Is one born as an artist? Or is studying art compulsory in your view?
Studying art academically should not be compulsory, in my opinion, although, even when an artist is born skilled, they should be constantly studying. And yes, I do think one can be born an artist.
To whom do you show a new work first?
Paula Klien, “zigzag” © Paula Klien
What does the first hour of your day look like?
I wake up, look at the sea, and thank God for everything.
In times of the internet of things, are galleries still necessary? If so, why and what for?
Yes, of course they are. Even with the best of the 3D presentations, which are great, and I love them, the senses and sensations still need to be felt locally.
Social-Media – a blessing or a curse?
Paula Klien, “Tunes” © Paula Klien
Epilogue | Current
The group exhibition UNMASKED #2 with works by Paula Klien (alongside Poren Huang and Janine Mackenroth) is on view at aquabitArt galerie, Auguststraße 35, 10119 Berlin-Mitte from 7 May to 29 May 2021.
In times of Corona, when travel, studio visits and personal contacts are inappropriate or even impossible, the written interview remains an important medium to introduce artist personalities, to spread their messages and to stay in touch with art lovers. The interviews are not edited or shortened by the editors and are always reproduced in original sound. Therefore, we do not translate the interview into English or German, unless this is submitted by the interviewee(s).
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