In Profile: Cecilia Danell

| June 10, 2015
Cecilia Danell 'Nucleus' Matchsticks and glue 2014

Cecilia Danell ‘Nucleus’ Matchsticks and glue 2014 || All images:

WHO are you?
My name is Cecilia Danell and I am a Swedish visual artist based in Galway, Ireland since 2004. I studied painting at the Campus for Creative Arts & Media, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, so I see myself mainly as a painter, but also use other media in my work including installation and film.

WHAT is your work about?
I have an interest in analytical psychology and the works of Carl Jung as well as existentialist literature and cinema. The fine line between inner and outer is something that I often explore in my work; the idea that these separate things can somehow merge or that states can become blurred, that the landscape can act as a metaphor for the psyche. I explore how places impact on a person in a psychological sense and become a part of who we are. It’s essential for me to spend time in the places that I depict to explore them first hand, and document them. The paintings I make take into account my own experiences of a place as much as the research images I base them on.

WHEN did you realise you were in tune with the right side of your brain?
I always liked drawing and making things when I was a child and I my mother and grandmother used to paint and draw, my mum went to art school when she was young, so despite not picking art as a profession herself, she always had an interest in cultural activities and encouraged me. As a young teenager I thought i wanted to be an illustrator rather than artist though.

Cecilia Danell 'Hide no.2' Paper clips on netting with fabric backing 2012

Cecilia Danell ‘Hide no.2’ Paper clips on netting with fabric backing 2012

WHERE do you draw inspiration from?
I feel very inspired by the Swedish landscape, which I spend time in and document when I am over there visiting. I am also inspired by literature and films; writers such as Hermann Hesse, Knut Hamsun, J.P Sartre and C.G Jung. I am a huge fan of Ingmar Bergman and did a film studies course on him last summer, which has lead me to finally get into Andrei Tarkovsky’s work more recently.

WHY do you create?
It’s like an urge or a need. I know there have been times in the past when I haven’t been able to create for a while due to work and it really brings me down, it’s like a part of me is missing. I don’t think I’m always the most outgoing person, so I feel that I express certain sides of me through my artworks which would be lacking otherwise. Not to say that art making is all plain sailing though, it can be quite a struggle in itself, but then you just hope that the end result will be worth it.

HOW does the magic happen – creative process or candid creativity?
It is definitely a process for me, I have certain periods when I mainly collect research materials and read a lot and extended periods when I only paint. It also has to do with deadlines and whether I have an exhibition coming up and how I time this. I don’t think you can just sit around and wait until creativity strikes, I think you end up making good work because you’re in a zone of thinking or experimenting and through being involved in this process the work will happen.

Cecilia Danell 'Salt Lick' 2012

Cecilia Danell ‘Salt Lick’ 2012

Plans for 2015?
I just came back from a trip to Sweden where I visited a small island in the Baltic Sea called Fårö. It’s the place that corresponded so closely to Ingmar Bergman’s inner landscape that he decided to build a house there. It’s also the place where he shot films like ‘Persona’ and ‘Through a Glass Darkly’. I cycled around parts of the island and looked at the rugged, yet very beautiful scenery, consisting of pine forests, stony fields dotted with juniper bushes and rocky shores with unique cliff formations called ‘rauks’. I will be going through the images I shot there and make work based on these. I want to juxtapose Bergman’s island landscape with the inland forest landscape of mainland Sweden where I grew up.

So we can stay in the loop, what’s your dot com?

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