Highlights from the Sculpture Biennale: a Conversation with Ser Serpas

For the occasion of the Sculpture Biennale, we have been in conversation with 3 young artists exhibiting in this major exhibition in Geneva. The first contribution comes from artist Ser Serpas.
by Lara Morrell
July 22, 2020
Lara Morrell
Ser Serpas

Could you tell us a little about your practice and creative process? How do you define it? What sort of materials do you work with?

I work with materials readily available to me for the most part, so mostly garbage and building waste I find on the street. Recently I’ve been teaching myself how to work with oil paints and watercolors, as well as how to write in specific structures, specifically that of a screenplay. My creative process starts at the point of invitation, I take into account where I’m asked to contribute work and in what context and I go from there, fitting something to the space that I’d find interesting to do there.

More specifically could you tell us about your intervention for the Sculpture Garden Biennial and the ideas behind that?

I am making sculptures outside of the park, more specifically on the streets of Geneva. I will have made around 4-7 by the close of the exhibition. I’m working in this way because I have yet to place work in a park and thought it would be more interesting to make work where I find the constituent parts, and somehow bringing objects I find outdoors to another outdoor location didn’t sound too appealing, so this is supposed to be a fun challenge to that.

How does this context (the exhibiting of your work in an outdoor / public space) add to or become an active component in the work?

The context of this show challenges what my work has been in the past, and I’m happy about it. It’s a different type of challenge than the one I’m used to, which has often been that of what you can get away within a white box gallery setting when you work with materials that are unstable or actively decaying. This allows my work to become more gestural and true to what these materials have gone through in the immediate setting of their ‘discovery’.

Ser Serpas, Sculpture Biennale, Geneva, 2020
Ser Serpas, Sculpture Biennale, Geneva, 2020

Who or what has been the greatest influence to your practice so far?

The conversations and arguments I have had with curators and other art workers have been the biggest influences on my work thus far. The various constraints of the institutions they represent directly shape how much I can get away with, and I’ve tried to get away with a lot. All in all, I appreciate any attempt to engage with my work, however the practice is young, so these interrogations allow it to grow at worst and drastically change its aims at best.

How do you think recent months will have affected your outlook/output as an artist, and what’s next for you?

The recent months have driven me to further develop my writing practice as its something I can do in most situations. I will be participating in Made in L.A. in Los Angeles in September.

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