In anticipation of the Semi Peppered x Inter:Mission ‘Empty Spaces’ event , I:M met with creative Hetty Mahlich to discuss what Empty Spaces means to her.
Degree: Third Year History of Art
What does the word ‘empty spaces’ mean to you?
‘Empty spaces’ makes me think of imaginary, constructed in-between spaces. Between what’s in our heads; feelings and thoughts, and the physical spaces around us.
In what way do you think studying History of Art has shaped you as a creative?
I’m not sure how much it’s necessarily shaped me as an artist, as I’ve not been making work as much as I used to when I was on my art foundation before Bristol. I needed a break from being in my head so much and constantly trying to visualise it, and away from a pressure in London that I felt, to succeed immediately, to know what I wanted. My course now has definitely taught me a lot, socially, politically, emotionally, it’s given me an important context, to both my creative work and my writing. It’s shown me a different way of looking at things. So I suppose actually in the long term that it’s shaped my work a huge amount.
What are your main interests/ passions outside of art?
Writing. Launching the fashion section for Inter:Mission a couple of years ago has taken me in a direction within fashion I didn’t think I wanted to get involved with, I always thought I wanted to be very creatively hands on with the styling side of things, but I’m interested in the editorial side of things at the moment.
Do you think fashion influences your practice?
Definitely. I’m interested in the narratives created, not just by the clothes but by the clothes in the context brands or our societies put them in. Fashion at it’s best is so much more than the surface level those outside the industry can make it out to be. Creating a narrative, pulling together different visuals and contexts, juxtaposing different ideas, is what I’m interested in.
I have noticed you work a lot with photography and collage, are these your preferred choices of medium? Why are you so drawn to the medium?
The physicality of it. I think it all comes back to that idea of narrative, taking pieces from different stories and times, and fitting them together to create something new. My favourite part of my art foundation was always the sketchbooks, I still make them now, even just for researching an article.
Who are your greatest inspirations? Artists but also people in general.
The director Sofia Coppola has been a massive influence on my work and pretty much a lot of what I’m interested in both visually and in the tones my writing and physical work takes on. Two of her films, ’Marie Antoinette’ and ‘The Virgin Suicides’ are about teenage adolesence, they’re these suburban worlds which are both fantasy and reality, they have such a particular visual aesthetic to them, which I think actually really resonates for me with the theme ‘empty spaces’, and her soundtracks are amazing too. I think those teenage years are always central to my work, that passage of time.
Tell us about what you have in mind for the works you will be showing at the exhibition and how you will be illustrating empty spaces?
I don’t really collage that much outside of sketchbooks, usually I would show some photography. But ‘empty spaces’ made me think of that kind of sketchbook work and crafted spaces, like your bedroom. Bedrooms say a lot about a person, from the books to the pictures, post cards and old cinema tickets stuck on my walls. For me, it’s put together in a way quite specific to the aesthetic of my sketchbook work, things create a particular narrative when placed alongside one another. So it will be something influenced by that space.
What is it you like about practicing art?
I find working with images the most natural and personal way to express myself and to explore ideas and stories.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m in my final year now, afterwards I’ll definitely move back home to South London and start interning again and then hopefully see where it takes me.