Human Desire 2.0

Louisa Clement, Inside, 2020, 90x70, inkjet print
Louisa Clement, Inside, 2020, 90×70, inkjet print


Louisa Clement’s solo show ‘omissions’ just opened at Eigen + Art Lab, Berlin. The acclaimed visual artist from Bonn tells us more about her practice, including her latest series ‘moulds’ in this exhibition which reflects on our fraught relationship with machines, subverting and raising questions on desire and what it means to be human, 2.0.


Air, fire, water, earth… which of these elements would you choose in relation to your self or your creative practice, and why?

I believe one is often driven by an inner restlessness and the urge to communicate what cannot be put into words.

In this sense, maybe fire?

Louisa Clement © Neven Allgeier

Signs of our time

In what ways do you correlate sculpture with photography? -for example, in terms of the negative and positive spaces you experiment with in your latest series ‘Moulds’ (2020) ?

In my work the different pieces are mostly related to each other in terms of content and process. I take up thoughts again, in content as well as in representation and material.

In terms of the moulds and the photographic series of bodies, the photos came out by dealing with the sculptures first.

The moulds contain a void, a body shape, but the body is not there.

For the viewer, his or her opposite is something between an imprint and a mould, and the sculpture describes what is missing.

When I took photos of the sculpture with my smartphone I realised that the digital photography transferred this emptiness on to a body, so the actual missing body became a volume and was suddenly present.

I found this very exciting and also to a certain point a sign of our time, which has to be questioned.

Moulding identities

Your work also speaks of the fluidity of identity, its slippery nature like the texture of the sleek mannequins. What does the ambiguity of these figures reflect -maybe inspired by surreal painting, cinema or poetry?

I am very aware of art history, it is always a space of reflexion for me.

My inspiration comes mainly from newspapers, books, films, and of course art and daily life.

The form of the bodies in the series Body comes from these shifts in perspective and content, from real to digital and transformed into something pictorial.

Abstract black masses

The ambivalence of your work draws us closer to dig deeper and find what’s uncanny beneath. Can you tell us more about this tension, in relation to AI (surveillance and face tracking for instance) and your installation Transformation Cut?

I am trying to raise contemporary questions about society and politics, mostly related to today’s human body and communication in terms of emotions.

When I started thinking about AI, my main interest was in artificial communication and interaction, which almost creepily influences our daily life more and more, so I started researching and learning about AI, to integrate these preoccupations and combine them with the themes in my work.
The Transformationsschnitt was also born from research. The work consists of a glass residue in which the sarin [a highly toxic chemical agent] used by Assad against his population and defused in Germany is bound.

This material had for me an incredibly beautiful but also malicious aesthetic.

I usually install this black glass in rectangles and use several tons of the material. For me this abstract black mass with the sharp edges was a correct representation to show not only the absent body, but also the missing individual and the pain that a mass destruction causes.

Keepin it real

Dr. Yoichi Ochiai’s research on VR explored the idea of a ‘dream collapsing’ when we leave a VR room, how physical and virtual worlds collide, interactions change… What might these notions of a ‘clash’ and a ‘dream’ mean to you, as in your piece ‘Aporias’?

To me Aporias is more a conceptual question between illusion and reality. In the beginning of the work there was this question about a conversation without a human addressee:

what does it need to have a conversation and is it a conversation when you talk to a bot, a computer generated voice?

To have a real conversation you actually have to meet someone in person, you cannot really meet a bot, so I chose this virtual reality space as a bridge between the physical or real world, and the digital, computer generated world.

This was the only space for me where you can sit on a table finding out if there is a conversation or just the exchange of words. It was more about the borders of this space and AI nowadays.

I think the borders between virtual and real become more and more fluid and the realities merge into each other more and more too, so I sometimes try to hold on to and ‘seize’ this border in the works, or I question these subtle transitions.


11. Juni 2020, 11 – 20 Uhr
12. Juni 2020, 11 – 18 Uhr
13. Juni 2020, 11 – 18 Uhr

Exhibition: 11. Juni – 15. August 2020 at Eigen + Art Lab, Berlin

Find out more about Louisa Clement here.

Author: Alexandra Etienne