Esther Stocker’s work is more than meets the eye. More than the marked lines, pathways and geometric patterns, the unmistakable marks that create her visual identity are an exploration of concepts such as imperfection, freedom, loneliness, isolation, and the sense of group. Defining the definite through embracing the indefinite, and looking for freedom by pursuing chaos are philosophies that define Stocker’s art.
Let’s first talk a bit about your background. How did your schooling shape the artist you’ve become?
I wonder that too. Not following the talk of teachers and wondering off with mind probably helped. My very good teacher in my art studies was Eva Schlegel. She is an inspiring person and a great artist.
How would you define your work and what you do?
I describe imperfection through the way of perfection.
Your work is print heavy and inspires the observer’s response. Do you consider yourself a printmaker or an illusionist?
I could not say one or the other, but geometric fictionalist would probably be one option.
What is your goal as an artist?
I want to free myself from pain. That is one thing I can think of immediately. The more general answer is: I search for ways out, for free forms, for freedom in forms, for the coexistence of the expected and the unexpected. My main interest lies in the description of Existence, and that is the Existence of opposite or paradoxical forms (forces) in one.
The same idea is defining of your work – a repetition of simple images creates a complex experience. How would you define the experience of your work?
You know, honestly, I cannot tell what others feel or think.
What encouraged the move from painting to installation?
First, it was a simple experiment to make something like abstract painting accessible in a literal way. Then I wanted to learn some things about space.
Where does a concept of your prints derive, and how is the concept for experiencing this print in your installations crafted?
I actually do mostly painting. Or taping. I think a lot about relations between people – how they stand in a room, how they stand against or next to or together with another. Or as opposites – what one is, what a lonely form is, what a group or collective is. What happens when forms connect, when they start to disintegrate, to disappear? How we, as single forms, as we always are, experience isolation? An isolated figure can be sad but also powerful. A group of forms can be a texture. Isolated forms can be part of a collective.
What type of experience do you hope for with your work?
Beauty, irritation, becoming a part of it, understanding it the wrong way, etc.
I’ve previously read that you are inspired by comics. Can you further explain the abstraction found in their simple life?
It is the line where it all starts, but it is also the fun, the joke, and the reduction. Comics are abstractions in many ways.
What else do you look to for inspiration?
Everything inspires me, I hardly search for it. My head is often so full that I worry it may explode. Life experiences influence me the most.
Would you ever consider working in fashion? Do you wear a lot of prints?
I do. Only recently I started that. For instance, a runway for Iris van Herpen’s fashion show, and I also collaborated for skiwear with Eider/France. I’m tempted to wear prints, but I’m worried to be too camouflaged in front of my work. Who could find me then?
Can we anticipate a current or tentative opportunity to view your work?
Until May 13, you can visit my work at the exhibition Nove viaggi nel tempo at Palazzo Reale in Milan. Go see it!