Spaces in Between: Analysing Ivan Liovik Ebel’s Relational Aesthetics

The Berlin-based artist Ivan Liovik Ebel (b.1983) was born in Switzerland and recently received his masters in contemporary arts practice from the Bern University of the Arts. His work has been exhibited in various galleries around the world and among other great achievements he was also nominated for the Berlin Art Prize last year.
In his interview with ArtVerge, the artist not only provides important insights into his arts making process but also some more personal elements of his character. Shifting between material and context, Ebel’s artistic process mirrors a visual language which strives to capture complex connotations of contemporary life. Moreover, Ebel explores the intellectual capabilities of time and space and our relation to them through his multi-ranging artistic practice which includes primarily painting but also installation, print, sculpture or performance. “Spaces in between” briefly defines his work in a few words while Ebels also notes that Chris Marker’s La Jetee is his favourite film and Miro’s triptych Blue I-III painting has been marked in mind since he has a youngster.
Loop, acrylic on canvas, 2 x (170 x 105 cm), 2015, credit: courtesy of the artist
With an identifiable concentration on abstract aesthetics, Ebel intertwines his practice with repetitive depictions and patterns to underline an artistic vocabulary which interestingly slides between the notions of simultaneity, uncertainty or reproduction. Although these creative arrangements on his canvases are implemented with a painting simplicity, Ebel’s works are in fact tangled concepts that cross-question the deeper relationship between time and space. Either it is a colourful or monochromatic painting, the spatial interpretation, which the artist employs through his practice, requires further reading. On one hand, the artist’s painting depictions through various patterns or shapes probably aim to visually capture on canvas the eternal relationship between space and time. On the other hand, the viewer is encouraged to intellectually engage himself/herself with these representations regarding the relativity of time and space approaching his art from another perspective.
Usually, through parallel artworks such as the Loop (2015) diptych painting series, he aims to reproduce geometric repetitive shapes creating a colourfully joyous illusion. In this respect, there is also a recognizable imagery which can be partly seen as an extension of the mechanical technique of the mass-produced culture as well as reminiscent of the pop art movement principals which used to highlight the fact that everything is interconnected. As a result, the terms of proliferation and chronology or the relativity of perception continue to challenge the viewer while watching Ebel’s work.
Artverge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work? What inspires you?
Ivan Liovik Ebel: I work with many different media, primarily with painting at the moment, but I also work with print, installation, sculpture or performance. In each case, I am interested in a certain moment of indeterminacy and uncertainty, one in which one no longer knows exactly what one is actually looking at.
Anything can be a source of inspiration: a book that I read, a discussion that I have, something I see in the street, an artwork, everything. I get most of my ideas by surprise, almost as if my brain works on its own. And when I really need an idea I usually read Bachelard or go outside of the studio for a walk.
How would you define your work in few words?
A phrase that would describe my work in a nutshell could be “the spaces in between”. For me personally, the term “intermediate spaces” refers to a sort of investigation of the relativity of perception, of forms of non-distinguishability as well as the relationship between time and space. The exploration of strategies of reproduction, repetition and reflection makes up an important part of my research, due to their capacity for causing confusion in the initial moment of perception.
Loop, acrylic on canvas, 2 x (170 x 105 cm), 2015, credit: courtesy of the artist
Do you have a favourite book, film or painting, which inspires you?
« La Jetée » from Chris Marker has been one of the films that has most inspired me, and it’s probably my favourite also, however it is really difficult to pick just one. And there are so many great books that have changed my life, I won’t try to rank them.
What’s your favourite colour?
As a young teenager I was deeply marked by Miró’s triptych Blue I-III, probably the first artwork I fell in love with; so this specific blue was for a long time my favourite colour. Now as a painter I use colours as tools and I don’t have a favourite one, at most some favourite colour combinations…
Joan Miró Bleu I, II, III, 1961 || source:
When was the latest video you saw on social media and had an impact on your mood?Which one?
Probably, one of the many videos I saw the last few days related to Trump’s victory in the US election. They clearly had a strong impact on my mood, generating a strange mixture of laughter, disgust,frustration and fear wrapped in a feeling of incredibility.
Which is the exhibition you visited last?
It was Martin Zet’s exhibition at Futura Project in Prague which I enjoyed a lot.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Evey morning my baby boy wakes me up and he is definitely a morning person..

Is the glass half empty or half full?
It depends on my mood.
Which are your plans for the near future?
I’m working on my next exhibition next year at Display in Berlin. Besides that I’m working on a new series of paintings but I have no idea where it is actually going to go…

Loop, acrylic on canvas, 2 x (170 x 105 cm), 2015, credit: courtesy of the artist
Loop, acrylic on canvas, 2 x (170 x 105 cm), 2015, credit: courtesy of the artist
Project Space Festival 2015 Day 22 @ Lage Egal
Im Nebel, Performance, Lage/egal as part of Project Space Festival, 2015 || Photo. Markus Georg
Untitled (wieder Schein), MDF, mirror and glass, 60 x 30 x 30 cm, 2012
Some good organized stars, oil and acrylic on canvas, 45 x 35 cm, 2013, credits: courtesy of the artist

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