Ahead of her new show, multimedia artist Lotte Andersen talks telling lies and falling in love.
On what occasion do you lie? For most of us the answer is, in truth, too often. We lie to our parents. Our landlords. The whole of Instagram. We lie to ourselves.
It’s an uncomfortable reality, but one multimedia artist Lotte Andersen wants us to face. Her one-night showcase “How Do You Feel About Lying”, an event that’s part of Tate Modern’s “Uniqlo Tate Lates” series, explores why we pretend to be perfect. With a focus on falling in love, the five-channel video installation questions the performative aspects of a new relationship and our frantic attempts to conceal the parts of ourselves that might be harder to love. While facades inevitably fade, the question remains as to why we try to hide what makes us fully human, and how do we feel about telling those lies?
Neatly following Lotte’s previous work, the installation will include video footage of past projects. Photos taken on the night will also be used in her ongoing project “Dance Therapy”, an interactive series that explores the body as a site for healing, the dynamics of club culture and the politics of taking up space.
“Dance Therapy” stemmed from MAXILLA, Lotte’s elusive but legendary West London party night, which turned in its dancing shoes circa summer 2016. Open to all (advertised via her DIY cut and paste posters), the MAXILLA series forged an open, accepting space that brought together a truly eclectic mix of people. As well as facilitating friendships, it helped Lotte form her own artistic ethos and aesthetic, both of which filter into her work today.
Like “Dance Therapy” and MAXILLA, “How Do You Feel About Lying” uses sound, print, video and live performance, creating an immersive and collaborative experience. Arrive without expectations – Lotte’s is the kind of dynamic, provocative art that changes perspectives.
We spoke to the artist about love, lies and what to expect tonight…
What can you tell us about “How Do You Feel About Lying”? The info online is all very elusive.
That’s very me! It’s a five-channel video installation with sound work. It features archive footage of a performance I did a year ago called “Karaoke Party”, or “The Ballad of Two People Falling in Love”, which was done inside of another ongoing project that I’ve shown quite a lot called “Dance Therapy”. Essentially, I invited a group of people to come and perform in the space and sing. Then there’s also going to be sound piece that I worked on with this really amazing musician called Shygirl, which is basically us in conversation.
What’s the sound piece about?
I wanted to make a piece of sound that’s about the initial parts of a relationship, when you meet someone and you’re on your best behaviour. You’re performing the best version of yourself, but you’re constantly swapping and admitting things.
Why call it “How Do You Feel About Lying?”
I met this girl and I really fell in love with her. The reason being that she asked me that question – it was like her way of checking. That’s where that comes from. I’d never sat and thought about it and I just started spiralling, I’ve been spiralling since I was asked that. It just links so perfectly with performance and it’s a really uncomfortable question.
Do you remember what you replied?
No! But you know what was interesting: I found this really unpleasant to make. I try to understand the things that make me deeply uncomfortable, I want to get to the bottom of them. I just do it in public, the only way that I’ll actually do it is if I put a date on it and there are other people showing up. How do I feel about lying, though? I absolutely hate it, actually. But from what I can understand from others, some people don’t really seem to care about it so much – what they care about is when they’re found out, and I think that’s the most distressing part of all.
In your ongoing project Dance Therapy, you’ve explored club culture and the body – do you see nightlife as a space let go of performance and masks, and just be free?
No, the complete opposite. I spent a long time talking about that, and I now I realise that the only way people do that is when they get out of it. Now I’m more interested in the masks that they wear.
How else do masks fit into the project?
With the karaoke aspect: when are women allowed to be hysterical? When are they allowed to be Mary Magdelene? They’re not. You’re allowed to be Aretha Franklin though. You’re allowed to be Björk.
What drew do you exploring the initial stages, and performance, of falling in love?
I can’t help it. I can’t stand that I’m so fascinated with me in relation to someone else, but it’s something inescapable.
It’s so universal though – it might be about you, but it’s something that everyone can relate to.
Exactly. I use myself in my work but I’m interchangeable, it could be anyone having a female experience. I’ll use my face, hands, voice, they’re all tools. It’s a universal sensation, we’ve all been there, I’m really interested in universal feelings.
As an artist, what draws you to focusing on making immersive, collaborative experiences in a 3D, physical space?
The print that I make is usually so big! I used to do print work for Maxilla, at the parties every inch of the walls was covered. In my practice I do the same thing, I make prints that’re 8 ft.4. It’s a way of making that work an object, it’s not 2D, the words hook you. And the other people make it good. I just hold the strings, I’m setting up the situations for people to find pleasure.
Is there anything that you think people will be surprised about the show?
No! It’s funny because I’ve done a lot of shows in a row recently and I was very concerned with not making the same thing again. But then I just thought: this is insane. You make print, you make sound, you make video, you make it about this, that’s what you do.
How do you want people to feel when watching it?
I think you should have your own reaction to it, I’m not here to be the karaoke singer. I want to know what you think.
What’s next for you?
A large format zine, more installations, more sound and some pop videos. Then I need to have a break! I’ve done three shows this summer, and I don’t make “tiptoe through the daisies” kind of work – the last three iterations have an underbelly that’s pretty sinister. I need to go and have a cute time and stop thinking about every lie I’ve told.
“How Do You Feel About Lying” will show on 31st August at The Switch House, The Concord Space, Tate Modern. The video installation will be playing from 7pm, followed by a talk by Lotte at 9pm.