Shortlisted artist Michal Cole tells us more about her work…
What is it about the Young Masters project that you are most interested in?
I am most interested about the concept of working with a progress of an idea;
Bringing back to life not just a skill or a craft such as tapestries or silhouette cutting but also concepts used by old masters such as Caravaggio and Raphael. Adapting a religious figurative painting or tapestry with current views and beliefs, teamed with contemporary techniques and visual language – helps reflects society and our surrounding in a new/old ways.
Old masters where bound by religious and social restrictions- while Young Masters have the freedom of choice- of subject, matter , concept, and production. This breeds life into the Old Masters work and acts as a homage to bygone era while reflecting the current.
By breaking Taboos such as cutting money into the Queen’s silhouette- I am able to challenge old beliefs and inject ideas of feminism, equality, and social justice, in place where these subjects where prohibited.
Can you explain to us what your work is about?
My artworks are intended as a celebration, a critical examination and a tragi-comic allegory of the human condition. I invite the viewer to contemplate the beauty, joy and humour of life set against the uncontrollable social, economic, political and religious injustices and hypocrisies that inevitably befall us. It is the moment of transition in particular that fascinates me – economical transitions, religious shifts, the collapse of beliefs and infrastructures and loss of faith. I try to envision the possibility of order born from chaos and mayhem, creativity out of destruction and inspiration derived from man’s fallibility and stupidity.
Using sumptuous colours, exuberant compositions and textures, I try to combine instantly
recognisable visual imagery drawn from art’s history – from the frescos of the Old Masters to Botticelli’s infamous Mappa dell’Inferno (Inferno, 2013) and Munch’s The Scream (Clamare, 2013) along with traditional methods of practice such as painting, collage, assemblage and often luxurious, seemingly decadent processes such as Flemish tapestry and hand-cut money.
The body of work in its entirety is an attempt to purposely create an installation that is over the top, tacky, stupid, infantile, ridiculous, pathetic, beautiful, frustrating, happy, sad and so on. Whether as an oversized scud missiles, an ornate tapestry, desecrated currency or a smashed antique crystal chandelier – these are super-charged images that cut to the very heart of the life itself.
Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
I am most inspired by Caravaggio. A true rebel , a murderer, a painter on verge of insanity, his work is violent, uncompromising , erotic, and dramatic.
His paintings take my breath away, and I spent this summer touring Italy in search of the original artworks. I have had the pleasure of seeing 6 Caravaggio’s this month.
Can you tell us something about your background?
I was born in Israel.
At age 14 I came to Camden, London and found a home away from home.
Upon my return, I have built the “ Heavy Metalists” group in Tel Aviv, took over the nightclubs and formed a mini revolution of anarchy and mayhem. We aimed to challenge the existing local beliefs, views, fashion and musical tastes, by communicating new ideas of freedom, artistic freedom atheism and passion for challenging conformity.
The group grew fast and soon we where featured in mainstream media, I headed the movement until my recruitment to the IDF at age 18. ( after escaping to Paris and being caught age 17.5)
Soon after my release I left for Paris to study art and while part sleeping rough, I managed to complete my Fine Art foundation course with a certificate of excellence. In 1996/7 I moved to London and joined Central Saint Martins where I discovered my passion for multi-disciplinarian art, and where I mustered many technical skills such as casting, photography and printing.
I spent the last 12 years working as an artist from my Studio ( 2000-2006 Shorditch Studio and 2008-2014 Kilburn Studio )
I joined Chelsea MA Fine Art program in 2012 and completed my course in 2013. I carry on my quiet revolution from my NW2 Studio – I call it
“ Suburban Anarchy”.
- I was titled “ Head of Metalists Movement” from 1987-1992
- * I used to be homeless while leaving in Paris studying art- my passion for cutting money is in sharp contrast to the days I had no food.
- I completed my BA at Central Saint Martins and my MA at Chelsea Art College
- My artwork is in both private and museum collections
- I will be having my first Solo show in Munich in September.
- I will have a solo feature at Summa Art fair in Madrid in September.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I done art since I can remember, it was not a choice ,but a giver state -I was always a bit wired.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
Exhibiting at the Saatchi Gallery after winning Showdown
Exhibiting in Sotheby’s
What are your plans for the future?
Staying alive and do art.