Studio visit diaries #4 (feat Villa Lena): Tal Reg...

Studio visit diaries #4 (feat Villa Lena): Tal Regev in conversation with Domenico de Chirico

Tal Regev lives and works in London. Her research mainly uses the pictorial medium. In recent months her work has been exhibited at Studioname in Leicester, (UK), Three Highate Gallery and Ainalaiyn Space in London and finally The Curious Tower in Nottingham (UK). In 2020 she was in residence at Villa Lena and she is interviewed here by Domenico de Chirico on the occasion of the Studio Visit Diaries column.

Domenico de Chirico: Where did you grow up? And what kind of culture did you grow up in?
Tal Regev: I was born in London, grew up in Tel Aviv and I returned to London for my studies.

Can you please describe yourself by instinctively choosing three different adjectives?
Open, curious, happy.

Tal Regev, studio portrait, courtesy of the artist

As it is declared in your artist statement, your work focuses on bringing out the sense of what lies underneath the surface, for instance: power dynamics, control and memory. How and where can we trace all these elements in your paintings?
In my paintings I aim to capture a sense or dynamic rather than illustrate it. I am touching upon a deeper sense of personal history that seems invisible but plays its role on one’s psyche. In this way dynamics seem to erupt, at other times they are silent. My paintings are layered, I intend for them to slowly unfold. What is held underneath the surface has its toll upon what comes next as the quiet grip of a shared tension.

How would you define your artistic approach? Practically speaking, could you please describe your technique?
I work with oil paint on canvas. I start a painting with a sketch directly upon the canvas and build upon it with many thin layers of paint.

Do you have cultural references on which you rely continuously?
My starting point is my personal experience, but I am interested in relating to it through a more universal lens. My interest is in human nature.

Tal Regev, “Untitled”, 2020, oil on canvas, 100 x 70 cm, courtesy Villa Lena Foundation

From where do you draw inspiration?
I tend to focus on human nature and its complexities. I am interested in the most subtle dynamics between individuals and in subtle violences. I also dra w inspiration from my interest in processing and moving old dynamics, histories or traumas. I translate those experiences through painting.

How much of yourself do you give along with what you create?
My work is interconnected with my personal life and I give a lot of myself to it. It is a constant exploration through my research while in the studio and outside of it.

So how do you decide what a new series will be?
It usually evolves organically and intuitively, each work is a continuation of the previous one while I intend to deepen my research and exploration.

As it is written in the press release of your solo exhibition at Zabludowicz Collection in 2021, in your paintings bodies and objects oscillate in mysterious territories conjured from light washes of colour, often threatening to slip from a viewer’s grasp completely. Does all this energy concentrate and flow more intensely on earth or does it flow into the otherworldly?
It flows more intensely on earth and in the body but I am also interested in things which are not fully grasped cognitively and in this way it could hint towards the otherworldly or towards the subconscious.

aterreno o al subconscio.

Tal Regev, studio view (“Into her” and “Untitled”, 2022), courtesy of the artist

Is it more about presence or absence?

Vessel or aura?

Could you please tell us more about the painting located in Villa Lena? What is its history, the nature of which is hidden behind its magical and extremely rarefied atmosphere?
I was exploring figuration in this work and experimenting with the figure’s pulsation. I was interested in the transparency of the colour and for the figure to almost dissolve into the space. The painting in Villa Lena is part of a series of works in which I explore the figure as a vessel.

Last but definitely not least, what are you working on at this moment?
I am working on a new series of paintings for a couple of group exhibitions that I am taking part in next year.

Domenico de Chirico



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