“My latest project is a photographic essay about the public restroom, the most private public space of all. The restroom, a place of utility to men, to woman is another world, another language. The project is about the mirror. It is a place where secrets are shared and refugee is sought out. Friends are made, and judgments are passed. It is about the relationship between girls. Clothing, make up, statue and style are instruments that we women use to sculpt ourselves into the best we can be. We assimilate ourselves before we have to go outside and tackle the world. There is a code of respect and empathy that is established in this place. The Ladies Room deciphers part of the complex language of what it means to be a woman.” Rosanna Bach
Artist Rosanna Bach attempts to capture the vulnerability and struggles faced when undergoing the painful metamorphosis into “womanhood” in midst of present day New York City. Her pictures remind of an innocent, contemporary Larry Clarck mixed with some Martin Parr (minus Great Britain). “The Ladies Room” manages to take any girl right back to trembling in moms heels, holding a girlfriends hair back over the toilet, wiping away floods of mascara wasted on refused attention. When glancing over Rosy’s photographs the sickening scent of Red Bull and sweet perfume was reintroduced to my senses and I somewhat instantly remembered that feeling of anxiety and excitement, of fear and strength all combined in one about what the night might bring upon leaving that bathroom door and marching back on to the battle field …
Not too long ago Rosie and I shared bunk beds in boarding school and experienced the above side by side, arm in arm. I am not sure whether it is because of our shared memories that I feel so particularly moved by the mixture of l’ennui and hysteria in her pieces, but I sure as hell am very proud of how far she has come. Whilst the 1990s born Swiss girl normally calls her home New York City, she is presently in my temporary hometown Austin, Texas. Why? I was eager to find out myself…
Hahaha! Neirly. But not quite…I’m here on a one month long artist “motor-residency”. We’re going from Salt Lake City all the way to Dallas. They organized trips to the Grand Canyon, Marfa, the Lighting Fields and more. All expenses included apart from the flights. Gerson and Zevi the guys that I did my exhibition with in July invited me along. There are 30 of us: writers, painters, photographers, sculptors, musicians…. Working with others is the best. Every idea I get is from conversation.
How long have you been an Artist? Or rather: When did you decide to become an artist? I always thought you wanted to become a…I don’t know…what was it?
Umm….Creative director? I never really said “ok now I will become an artist”; it just sort of happened, or found me or whatever, I guess once people started genuinely expressing interest in my photography and my writing I felt encouraged enough to persue my passion further. Once I felt that people weren’t only being polite, but actually reactive, I thought-well…cool! …and said goodbye to a long empty ride to the world of branding.
I could never stand the idea of being stuck behind a desk day in and day out. The idea actually horrifies me. I guess it also has something to do with my need to feel discomfort, and with this I mean grow, but also with my hate for ignorance, and my need to connect to my surroundings, to be present.
What do you like about being an artist? Do you often feel judged about calling yourself an artist?
To be able to travel and meet all sorts of people is one great attribute of being an artist. To “dance with the strange” to challenge yourself. To discover other(s) truths.
When in New York and during my travels I tend not to feel judged because people don’t have a context for me. More so when I go home. It starts with the clothes I wear…I guess people are just intimidated by what they are not used to.
I guess it’s not so much the financial aspect for me as I am lucky enough to still have the financial backing of my father (at least for now). This however comes with the tradeoff of dealing with a huge well of guilt. I felt bad for a while about my background, and also feel as though I am not taken as serious in my profession as some “struggling artists” might be. I guess it’s this that makes me most insecure about calling myself an artist sometimes. But jobs are coming in slowly and prints going out so we’ll see…
Have you ever been confronted by these fears?
My ex-boyfriend is a painter/street-artist from Argentina. We were an odd combo to begin with: The Boarding school-girl from Gstaad and the Argentinian Socialist-street artist.
He would give me a lot of shit for my lack of financial independence. It was kind of motivating but it reached a certain point where he just made me feel plain bad. I don’t know what I was thinking when I brought him home to Gstaad and we entered the Palace Hotel “Wait so let me get this straight. This is where kids go to have fun?” He looked confused at the sixteen year olds sipping on gin tonics and playing backgammon in the lobby.
But, I do feel like the excess and all the pressure and absurdity these kids that I went to school with, that I grew up with, is connected to a lot of pain and a lot of confusion. This “expensive sadness” motive is all too often a grand empty illusion. A lot of them are actually sweet sensitive people, but I suppose that insecurity can take over. I actually thought of making a book about Gstaad. It is a very wonderful yet confusing place to me. Home, and at the same time to foreign…
As of now my father is still helping me out, but I don t want to be living out of Daddy’s wallet for the rest of my life so I think I probably will be relocating soon…maybe to Cape town or Rio. Wherever new opportunities take me. Beggers can’t be choosers. As long as I can however I will be staying in my lovely home in NYC-it took me forever to settle in and even longer to find. Yes, this is luxury, but who knows how long its here to stay…Also, opportunities seem to be coming my way, and I do believe NYC has a lot to do with that…seeing how everyone is willing to get new projects going, new people swim in and out each minute of the day. As long as they do I’ll stay; if I get a better opportunity somewhere else….I’m open to exploring.
Why the hell would I move to Dresden? No need to isolate myself…I’m not really too concerned with cliché and passé to be honest. Cities are super distinctive like people and if you click with it: perfect. And let’s face it: every city you go to you will have some hipster murmuring; “it’s not as real as it used to be.” Fuck real. You make what is real and if you need others to do that for you then it’s slightly sad.
Well…I guess it works since your gonna be showing in Art Basel Miami-Beach? What will we be seeing there next summer?
I will be showing a bunch of work from the residency, an extension of a body of work I began earlier this summer. Mixing textures of nature with the human form. I’m particularly set on using models in their 20’s. There’s a strength yet innocence that is present in these years. I’ve never been big on landscape or nature photography…I guess I am somehow stuck in this genre as I most relate to it and am still in it myself…so this is what it will be for now…that-and some poetry.
Photos by Rosanna Bach / Interview by Mafalda Millies