Arielle Chiara’s work is intimate. She explores the connection of the body and nature by using memory-holding materials in the form of textiles or natural elements. The human body plays an important role in her work and the artist is not shy to use her own bodily expressions in mysterious performances. However, without coming too close, she still keeps a distance between sensory understanding and full comprehension of the space that is created within an image. 
The use of materials in your work is very original (silk, hair, clay, sand). Why did you start using these natural elements?
I think what I am most interested in within these materials is their memory-holding function, either literally or in symbol. Hair is the perfect embodiment of this. It acts as a record of the body both within its actual chemical composition and in its continual shedding and trailing. Hair as a memory symbol is not a new idea by any means —we all know for example hair jewellery and the gifted lock of hair. Sand, rocks and clay are all tied to a geological recording. The history that rocks hold is literally millions of years. Also the carving of rocks, their weathering and tracing of movement. The silk I work with is often over 100 years old and holds a memory I can only access through the sweat stains, altered seams and the degradation of the fabric. I think all of these materials are related to this recording of a never fully consumable history, which is related to our own internal landscapes and half-seen memory spaces.
You also work with garments, what do they mean, both in your personal life as well as how it applies to your work?
I work with garments both for wear and in my sculpture practice, most often ruins of antique silks from the 19th and early 20th century. My relationship with these garments is related to a kind of haunting, I will often wear them until they shatter. The first work of this kind that I did was with a nude chiffon slip, which was so old that it turned to powder when rubbed between the fingers. I wore the dress out to a party in high school and it literally turned to dust on the butt by the end of the night.
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A lot of your work involves an outside environment. What is your connection to nature, and especially the desert?
The desert is compelling to me as a symbol, a physical representation of mental spaces, internal landscape. My connection to nature is simply because I am sensitive. I really just love the rocks. 
How would you describe your artistic style? Did your childhood have a particular influence on this?
I have spent some time thinking about those kinds of half dream memories that come from childhood. The earliest memories that as a child we tried hardest to repress often become warped when we attempt to uncover them, it is difficult to separate them from fabrication. I am interested in that space —an image space and a sensory space.
The art collective and label Nautae, in collaboration with close friends Zoë Bleu and Darius Khonsary, combines art, sculpture and fashion. In what way do you think these fields connect?
The way I engage with clothing is much more about these ideas of dressing up and performance of self, which is tied to an art practice or at least a heavily saturated aesthetic experience of our physical state. Nautae is a manifestation of a specific ‘self’, shared between Zoë, Darius and I. We talk about her like she rises from water, as a being in herself. My two collaborators are both involved in performance based work and that’s a huge part of the project. There is definitely a sculptural presence in our second story, which we constructed from antique silk and liquid latex without use of any traditional garment construction techniques.
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You have a very strong visual language, also visible in your Instagram feed, how did you find your personal signature at such a young age? 
I don’t really care about establishing a personal signature, I have always had strong taste.
What is the story of your Instagram name @_n__arcis_s___u________s and what is the idea behind the work you post on this platform?
The Narcissus name was honestly something I found amusing when I began using it around 2013, the idea of falling into the pool of self image. All I can say about this work is that Instagram is incredible as a visual platform and an archive; it allows me to construct both a semi-pseudo narrative and a visual language.
Your work seems very personal and intimate, is that also how you experience it, or do you keep a clear distance between your work and your life?
My work is highly intimate, my process is intimate, the materials and everything about it, but it’s an estranged intimacy. Distance has its hand, especially in the distance between sensory understanding and full comprehension of the space within an image. When I say this, I mean both image as in photograph and image as in an immediate, undigested impression of that what is before you, object and arrangement.
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How do you experience playing in your own performance pieces, like in Seep (2015)?
I have the deepest respect for performance work because for me it is so emotionally taxing, after Seep I was exhausted. For that work we drove out four hours into the Mojave to this geothermal mud seep field and after I was done my friends poured gallons of ice cold water over my naked body to wash off the mud. It is probably the most intense method of making —you’re almost draining your own body, producing heavy fluid.
You have an original approach to the portrayal of the human form, is there a returning message that you want to communicate in all your work?
I am interested in allowing the space for a bodily impression, which may not be better understood past a sensory or emotional, memory based understanding. This is related to symbol and is characteristic of an experience I have struggled to define, which consists of the obscured or half veiled. It is a feeling thing, in which the mind is unable to untangle, or willingly rejects the action of fully grasping the images it receives, passive force, holding instead. Thematically, and in relation to the body, I am curious about these passive forces and their duality as well. 
Our current world consists of many digital devices, which seems to be the opposite tool of what you work with. Do you consider using anything in this direction in the future?
Sure, I’m interested in working with certain technologies. I have recently been laser etching antique silks. I think the poetics can be really rich and relevant when it moves past the technology itself.
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