Outsider Art From The Information Age: Sacha Bruÿn
From classic and referential to bizarre and hilarious, Sacha Bruÿn's paintings raise new questions and considerations in arguably the weirdest era of humankind's cosmically short existence. Her work and internet presence is enigmatic yet incredibly forthright and sincere, firing jaded internet commentary from a deeply personal and vulnerable place. A self-taught painter, she strips away convention in her work, whether it's a painting of an emoji, a grossly deformed anime character, or a scene from the perspective of a video game character. She will paint elements in, overlay them digitally, or leave it unclear, completely subverting traditional standards while maintaining accessibility and depth.
However, as much as we could say, we'll let the work speak for itself and for Bruÿn to speak for herself. Read on below....
Eben Benson: So you are an outsider artist practically through and through, when did you start painting? What's kept you doing it and pushed you to get so talented with it?
Sacha Bruÿn: I've been performing an ironic self online for so long that the idea of actually talking about myself seems boring as hell. And I'm not even sure I'm okay with making fine art, ethically. Not sure what I'm doing here. It's a mess in here. The amount of collective suffering throughout time and space is so overwhelming. I guess it's that universal perspective behind my curiosity that's kept me going.
I've only been painting for a few years but started drawing young, thanks to some inexplicable drive to survive. I knew perspective could change with a little care. I've been trying to figure out how to get people to care about perspective ever since.
Your work dives into some of the darkest recesses of internet culture, how did this start? How do you conceptualize what you're observing in words?
It started as deathgirl on dial-up. Being alienated with c-ptsd left my socialization up to the internet. It started with alt.suicide.holiday which led to hxc gaming which led to devil music and exposure to extremist ideologies. Because of, you know, relativity, not having a point of reference for normal lingual or social constructs can make for a whole lot of neurosis. There's been so much fumbling in the dark with no idea what all the educated, uniformly constructed selves are thinking. Are they, with their words, all in on some big smart shit that I, with my experiences, can't know about? How completely do the systematically ignored take this gatekeeping to heart? I think being an outsider, a social negation, has allowed me to exist with art in a way that can make me feel real unlike anything else in the world. Even with the art form itself, everything I've learned has come from experimentation and I can't tell you how enriching and important creating something wholly my own is. I'm powerless in all other aspects of my life. Meme-related media feels like we're all grasping for each other under the threat of total atomization.
When did you start putting text in your work? What role does it play for you?
When social media happened. Mass politics and the viral have demanded radical transformation to public engagement with art. If we care about meaningful change, I don't think we have time for disaffected intellectual eroticism. Fuck interpretation. Using plain text and popular imagery is simultaneously an attempt to be more approachable and to jam sense (short circuit spectatorial passivity) out of a desperation for people to engage their own faculties. It's a mode of production oriented away from recognition by cultural institutions or discursive frameworks, to resist the abstraction and detachment they seem to bring cultural production. I don't see a difference between words and images in terms of their power to influence for better or worse. It often feels like all we've got left is the stock photo, and all I can do is deface it to make it spread faster.
There are also a lot of sociopolitical themes in your work, has this been a consistent theme for you? Where do you think that comes from?
Probably from living in a society. Lol. I delayed painting for so many years because every narrative about art's function seemed ridiculous and ideological. Paying attention to how some communities on social media were ethically regulating themselves got me going. But there's no guaranteed trajectory. Just like the only step in representational art, I keep vigilant against notions of identity. I never entertain any delusions of usefulness for my own ends, constantly doubting everything I'm thinking to stay open to potentialities. I guess it all comes from a fear of losing sapient potentiality to a data center filled with like, white yoga, the logical axiom of identity, emoji porn etc. I've always distrusted the image and just want to foster content awareness and empathy. Art is seduction and that's cool when it's like, a sonnet, instead of straight up red pill Pick Up Art. Self-brands representing big brands representing self brands-endless predatory orgies of aesthetic signifiers, at the cost of everything. First world branded spirituality, financial capitalism, imperialism, and its perception management and so on are all sustained by an unseen world of human, non-human and environmental exploitation. Have you got any nyquil
What artists have you been most inspired by? Who else has inspired you in your practice?
Any and all moments of courage against conformity at the expense of clout. Whoever made that image of the hands scooping sand with the neon green tribal decal photoshopped on top. I just hope people remember that they have what it takes to be inspiring too (can we do a thumbs up emoji here) Editorial Note: We can't :/
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