„We carry a dark companion within ourselves.“

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At first glance the shiny light-blue figure „Blue Sky“, made by artist and sculpture network-member Peter Riss, seems friendly and inviting. This impression is deceiving: The longer and closer one looks at the sculpture, the more threatening and alienating it appears. But despite or perhaps because of the danger that the sculpture emits upon closer inspection, Peter Riss succeeded in the competition „YICCA 2017 – International Contest of Contemporary Art“. YICCA was founded in 2009 to encourage artists and to give them the opportunity to connect to the international market for contemporary art. Any type of contemporary art is allowed in this competition, for example drawings, photography, videos or even sculptures. Peter Riss was selected by the four-member jury, to which curators Alessandra Prandin and Serge Klymko also belong, from approximately 800 participants and is the only German artist to have been given a place at the final exhibit in the Museum Fondazione Crocetti in Rome, which celebrates its opening this Saturday.

Peter Riss, how did you find out about YICCA?

I look at the opportunities page on sculpture network about once a week and then decide which competitions are possible in terms of theme and time. That’s how I found YICCA and, due the positive experience I had with the organization of the Biennale in Venice, decided that I would like to do something in Italy again. In general, I like to take part in competitions since they focus my concentration on my work. I have to deal with the work intensively once again before I can turn in my entry. That way I have the opportunity to think about my work in a manner that is new and different from the way I usually do.

How did you prepare for the contest?

First I had to decide which pieces I wanted to submit. I deliberately chose somewhat smaller and lighter sculptures so that the logistics on location would be simpler. In addition to that, I was already familiar with the space at the museum where the final exhibit was to be held and believed that smaller sculptures would fit better in this space. In the end I chose two sculptures which I submitted, each with a statement and a description of the piece. In doing that it was especially important to me to not only describe what the sculptures are made of, but also what message they convey.

In the end the jury chose your sculpture „Blue Sky“. How did you feel when the members of the jury informed you of their decision?

Naturally I was very happy. Of the other 17 artists who were also selected many are very present on the art market and exhibit professionally. That makes me feel somewhat validated about what I am doing. But even though I specifically choose the competitions in which I participate and my works are often selected, I never assume that it will happen again this time. I don’t want to become arrogant and I always remain sceptical.

Why do you think the sculpture „Blue Sky“ was chosen?

The sculpture catches the spirit of the times very well. With the help of the shiny light-blue cube, which is broken through by the horns of an ibex, it reflects the duality of society. The shiny glossiness of society is deceptive since there is a lot hidden beneath the surface. Also we carry a dark companion within ourselves. For this piece it has to do with these dark aspects, represented by the horns of the ibex, breaking through the agreeable and pleasant forms of society. At first glance the viewer sees the shiny light-blue color which seems happy and is very decorative. The threat that is radiated by the work only becomes clear when you take another look. It is exactly this transformation, which you only feel when looking at the figure from up close, that makes the piece so unique. 

How was this sculpture made?

I think in three dimensional images. My works are always created in my head first, without any sketches. I only realize a concept after it has completely matured in my mind and I am really satisfied with it. Since I am always simultaneously working on several projects there are some that I construct in my mind, but never realize since I just don’t have enough time. But when I do create a sculpture then I don’t change anything afterwards and it looks just like I imagined it. The realization of „Blue Sky“ was a somewhat lengthy process since it was difficult to create. The cube needed eight coats of paint to become so shiny and perfect. Plus, I had to find ibex horns that had the right curve and size for the cube.

Don’t forget to visit the final exhibit of the international contest for contemporary art YICCA 2017, which is being held until 29 November 2017. In addition to the sculpture „Blue Sky“ by Peter Riss you can also see works from 17 other artists from around the world: 

- Giulia Manfredi (Italy)
- Cécile Balate (Belgium)
- Suresh Babu Maddilety (India)
- Maryam Moghadam (Iran)
- Matthew Portch (Australia)
- Andrew Leventis (USA)
- Giacomo Layet (Italy)
- Maria Węgrzyniak-Szczepkowska (Poland)
- Kevin Frech (USA)
- Bianca Giacomelli (Italy)
- Anne Cecile Surga (France)
- Alfredo Dante Vallesi (Italy)
- Lilac Abramsky-Arazi (Israel)
- Sayaka Suzuki (USA)
- Albert Alcol Costa (Spain)
- Valentina De Rosa (Italy)
- Marek Slavík (Czech Republic)

Peter Riss
YICCA 2017 - International Contest of Contemporary Art
Museo Fondazione Crocetti
Via Cassia 492 - Roma
+39 0633711468
18 - 29 November 2017



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