Get Familiar: Milena Anna Bouma
Milena Anna Bouma is a talented multidisciplinary artist based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Her thought-provoking installations, sculptures, and performances explore the relationship between humans and objects, and question the status of human-created objects in our world. Bouma's works are characterized by a nuanced energy and a playful use of scale and materials. In this interview, we will get familiar with Bouma's creative process, inspirations, and aspirations for her art.
What were your earliest creative memories like?
I grew up in a family where creativity was appreciated, and taken seriously. Visual art, design and the aesthetics of things, were always present around me while I was growing up. My mother and my grandmother were always discussing furniture, art, or what kind of composition the plants in the garden should look like. Ever since I can remember I have been busy with drawing and creating, and as a kid I always had dreams about becoming an illustrator or a writer. I was very lucky that my creativity has always been motivated within my family.
Who did you look up to when you were first building your portfolio?
I was always, and I still am, very inspired by the artist Isa Genzken. Somehow she manages to use any material in her sculptures and installations, and despite the materials she uses are very diverse, there is still such a consistency in the work.
Why does food play such a big part in your expression?
In my work I am always searching for a certain hint of the reality in which we exist. I try to create small or big shifts in what things around us look like and what could be other possibilities for the appearances of objects and things surrounding our homes. I like to call this a “camouflage”. In order to reach this, I do not only on focus on domestic utensils, objects and materials, but also the things that derive from that - such as food. Food products are often made of malleable materials that inspire me to think further than classic materials in sculpture.
Are you passionate about food too?
Haha, I love food, but I try to separate my work from my kitchen, and my house in general.
Can you walk us through your creative process for developing a new piece of work?
I always with an experiment in the studio. This can be combining two materials or objects. I do try-outs, and this often creates a domino effect. I create something, and this causes ideas for other works to happen. I do not fear of engaging mistakes within the works - a lot of works are outcomes of experiments gone differently than planned out. Next to this I have several ways of working that repeatedly come back, which I see as a manual for myself. I manipulate the skin or outside layer of things, I make negatives of objects by making moulds, or I change the size, length or width of something existing.
Sculpture is a medium you work a lot with, how did you get started with it?
When I started studying in the Rietveld Academy, I was immediately drawn towards working three-dimensional. I found sculpture exciting because it is always a challenge against gravity. Next to that it motivated me a lot that you can incorporate materials from the real world. It offers a lot of freedom, but in the same time defines a framework for creation.
And these days how has your workflow changed?
Last year I have started to incorporate 3d rendered moving image in my work. The base of my interest for this medium is the same as within sculpture: it is possible to create anything from our world into a 3d rendered image, and through doing so, I can investigate the same topic as I do within sculpture.
In terms of your use of colour, what are the key ideas you have behind their power and effect in your work?
Colours play a vital role in our daily life and domestic environment. It brings up associations, memories and thoughts. I see it as just another way of communication. Next to that, I also approach objects as compositions with colours.
What do you hope viewers of your work take away after seeing it?
Even though the roots of my works a sometimes very personal - the outcome is familiar to many peoples’ eyes.