Sophia Pompéry is interested in looking at something banal until it becomes interesting. Coming from a background in sculpture, this Berlin born and raised visual artist creates delicate artworks that explore physical phenomena from a fresh perspective. Artfacts.Net had the pleasure to meet Sophia at her studio to learn more about her career, artistic practice and contribution to current group show at Galerie Wagner + Partner entitled ‘The Endurance of the Moment’.
Artfacts.Net: Your Artfacts.Net Artist Ranking has risen dramatically over the last few years – you are now 5,058 out of over 600,00 artists worldwide, which is an incredible achievement. Can you tell me how your career started?
Sophia: Sure, I studied at the former East Berlin School of Art, Berlin Weissensee and made my diploma under Karin Sander and Eran Schaerf. After that I became part of the Institute of Spatial Experiments (Institut für Raumexperimente) at Universität der Künste with Olafur Eliasson and in total finished my studies in 2010. Then I did a 6-month residency in Istanbul supported by DAAD – German Academic exchange program and had the opportunity to exhibit in one of the best places in town, ARTER Space for Art. This was quite an important step for me and my career. In Berlin when you finish your studies you often show in self-run spaces where you have to discuss if you have the right to drill a hole in the wall and here at AFTER I had people asking me where I wanted to put the walls! So this was a totally different scale of how to work and the start of my professional career, I would say.
So actually I have had no real gap between my studies and being a professional artist. I immediately had a gallery in Berlin and could begin to work, I mean there were ups and downs, but basically there was no gap of being lost and having to find my way.
Artfacts.Net: Was your first gallery Wagner + Partner?
Sophia: No, my first gallery was called, Gitte Weise Gallery by founder and director Gitte Weise. She is Australian and then she closed her gallery in Berlin and went back to Australia.
Due to my ARTER exhibition in Turkey I also found a gallery in Paris, Galerie Dix9 directed by Hélène Lacharmoise. You know, it is sometimes happy accidents. The gallerist was on holiday in Istanbul and she saw my show. Hélène first bought a work from me, then invited me for a show and then we saw that we could work together. This was a slow process.
With Cai Wagner, he asked me in 2014 for a co-operation after my group show at Akademie der Künste, but actually it turned out he had been following my work for some years, so for him it had already been a long process. I must say I knew his gallery, his program and several artists from his program already, but I did not know him personally.
Artfacts.Net: Can you tell me about the mediums you use in your work?
Sophia: I studied sculpture and initially I wanted to do figurative sculpture. But I felt totally overwhelmed with everything in art history that had already been done in the 20th century and it was very difficult to find a way that was totally unique. So I thought then maybe my task would be to show things I see instead of creating. I did not want to create something artificial because this problem was already solved from me.
I am interested in objects and space, or the physical materiality of things, or perspective and visual phenomena. My media is diverse so this can be photography, video, an installation or found object. And the conceptual bridge is to show something that I observe as a physical phenomena.
Artfacts.Net: What is the work you are currently showing in ‘The Endurance of the Moment’?
Sophia: It is a group show and I was invited to contribute to the topic of a ‘duration of a moment’. My work is a previous installation ‘Der Schnee von gestern’ which means ‘Yesterday’s Snow’. It is the snow I collected in 2016 presented in a refrigerator with a glass panel on one side. ‘Der Schnee von gestern’ also has another meaning in German as something that has been done before. I am interested in looking at something banal until it becomes interesting
Sophia Pompéry’s artist profile on Artfacts.Net
The Endurance of the Moment : The Opening Exhibition of Wagner & Partner’s new Space at Koppenplatz
With works by Berenice Abbott, Bertram Hasenauer, André Kertész, Erwin Olaf, Sophia Pompéry, Roman Signer and Thomas Wrede
Open now until the 29th of April
Interview by Renae Shadler, 31st of March 2018