Johanna Tagada, an artist living in London, talks about tea, stretching and making books.



Part 01.




ÉPISTOLAIRE IMAGINAIRE - LE REFUGE, Johanna Tagade © Naoi Magaki


Morning ...
Tea/ chen leiji


Noon ...  
Walk


Night ...
Lavender


Jatinder, ballade quotidienne, Johanna Tagada — 2013



Perfect happiness ...
Together


Preposterous ...
?


Fear ...
Anxiety


Love ...
Oneness


Extravagance ...
Dialogue


Comedy ...
Kitano


Work ...
Think, RE think


Our time ...
Remember


The future ...
In the present


The past...
Photographs


Part 02.





Most interesting thing in your wallet ...
This tiny flip book my fiancé made for me



Nara, Japan, Johanna Tagada — 2014 



In another life, you'd be ...
A deer in the forests of Nara, Japan


Your lucky charm ...
Je ne sais pas


Words to live by ...
Respect, humility, positivity, understanding and humor


Prized possession ...
A mala Jatinder gave me when we met. Some of my books - I enjoy reading and collecting art publications and literature.



Jatinder, dans le jardin de Tam, Johanna Tagada — 2015 



One wish ...
Came true when I met Jatinder Singh Durhailay


Your most marked characteristic ...
Physically ? A beauty spot on my right cheek, or maybe the fact that I speak really fast in every language ?



Yoshitomo Nara — Louise Bourgeois



A dream dinner party would be made up of ...
All my friends and family together in a park having tea and pie from my grandmother. People I admire (or admire the work of), would join us as well, Yoshitomo Nara, Kitano, Louise Bourgeois … Oh I would loved to have had the honor of meeting her. I feel really lucky and grateful, so far I have met a lot of people I look up to.  


Favorite shoes ...
At the moment my Tai Chi Shoes, but it’s getting cold for them … So new favorite where are you ?  



Center for Cosmic Wonder



Favorite store ...
Center for Cosmic Wonder, Osaka, Japan


Favorite friend ...
All of my friends ! Cameras & sketchbooks are pretty friendly as well.


Favorite place ...
Nara, Japan; With my grandparents, in their home and garden.


Favorite color...
All


   
The Book of Tea, Kazuo Okakura; Histoire de ma mère, Yasushi Inoué;
Les Lieux de Marguerite Duras, Marguerite Duras, Michelle Porte; Infinity Net, Yayoi Kusama


Favorite book ...
Lemon by Kajii Motojiro, Histoire de ma mère by Yasushi Inoué, The Book of Tea by Kazuo Okakura, Woman Native Other by Trinh T. Minh-ha, La grève des battu by Aminata Sow Fall, The beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu, Les lieux de Marguerite Duras by Marguerite Duras and Michelle Porte, Infinity Net by Yayoi Kusama


Favorite website ...

The big internet



„Baies Berlinoises,“ Johanna Tagada — 2013

A favorite photo that you've taken ...
to choose one is difficult, Ii like to portrait people I love, feel connected to. So images of my grandmother and portraits of my fiancé, part of the publication, Jatinder, ballade quotidienne. And maybe „Baies Berlinoises“ from my series Oil Painting on film photography.


Chashitsu Tetsu, Terunobu Fujimori — 2013


A favorite photo that someone else has taken ...
photograph of a tea house (Chashitsu Tetsu) by architect Terunobu Fujimori, it is simple: it makes me Dream. I have this photograph framed in my sleeping room since years.


Part 03.




London, Johanna Tagada  — 2012


You grew up in France, and split your time between London and Berlin. How does that inform your work ...

I left France shortly after my twentieth birthday, I first traveled a bit, went to Canada and lived in Zürich, Switzerland for nearly a year. In 2011 I moved to Berlin, and I am now between our journey, Berlin and London.

My partner once asked me what I was looking for moving around like that… I grew up in a really small village in the East of France, as I child all I wanted was to see the world, but I was stacked between the village and my holidays in the Parisian suburbs where some of my family lived. I collected images, cut outs of things I wanted to see, reading all those books when growing up, I guess i just wanted to experience the world, still doing so.

While moving around I also sort of became addicted to learning new languages, the way I live now allows me to practice five languages daily. This flexibility is also present in my work. Just like a dance.

Jatinder and I enjoy to split our time between Berlin, where we have a working space and a calmer life and London, the bustling city he comes from. I am happy to experience a very warm welcome towards my artwork in the UK. We’ve found our balance for now.

In Berlin, I focus on bigger formats and canvas, whereas in London, we have a smaller space so it’s mostly paper works, writings, and other projects I focus on.

While traveling I mostly compose works on paper, writings and photographs.



Japan, Johanna Tagada  — 2014


You travel often. Talk a bit about the importance of traveling to your work ...

Traveling allows me to share my work physically, despite the great Internet nothing equals the experience of a piece or a cup of tea together. I love meeting new people, seeing new places, new food, plants… Have passionate discussion with people living in various surroundings.

My travels inspire my work too, or I could say some of my works are the result of my journeys. My stay in Morocco was the occasion of a photo essay „Naissance d'un Amour“ published inThe Carton Magazine (Winter 2013-14) and the three weeks I spent in Japan earlier this year, the peace I experienced in Nara, truly pushed my work and thinking further.

Some of my works on Paper also own their format to this “nomadic” way of life, the series of watercolour painting Pensée are like maps to connect, humans to give the hand to.



Essai sur métal #1, Johanna Tagada — 2012


You work in a variety of mediums. Do you have a favorite ? Why or why not ...

I truly love and am passionate about all the mediums across which I work. It is important to me to question the physicality of the medium  with which I am involved. It can be  something difficult, for example one of my main  mediums is painting, which has such a big tradition but that is also so often seen again and again as „dead“.  Push the reflection further, compose, question, endlessly and yet keep it simple and understandable on various levels.

I like to create a dialogue between the various mediums with which I am composing my body of work. Every thing is connected, my paintings are like the roots, my photographs might reveal the seeds, my publications are the branches that are like traces of the growth of the tree, the videos and installations pieces are like the blooming flowers of my work that are only seen occasionally and that should be enjoyed together as a whole.



Jatinder, ballade quotidienne — 2014


Tell me about your publications ...

Being passionate about printed matter it is natural that I started self publishing. When making that decision it was important to me to create quality. I am easily annoyed by material possessions, so if I publish, it had to be delicate and in a certain way unique, like a flower you would forever wish to keep in full bloom. My monograph always have a hand painted page for example.

I design but also assemble every single publication on my own, In my studio in Berlin. I cut, fold, staple, pack each copy. It is a very meticulous work, I don’t rely on any one, no company, no assistant, it can be tiring physically. I like challenges.

I try to push further the quality of self publication, and the work one can accomplish on one’s own. I would love for my publications to be seen as distinguished titles.

It was a big honor for me when earlier this year, the manager of the Art Book shop of the prestigious Tate Modern, decided to purchase my publications, but also mentioned several times „how incredibly beautiful and poetic „ he found them, „We NEED this“ he said.

I am now working on a new title, and try to push my own boundaries again.



Épistolaire Imaginaire, egg, London - 2016


Color and emotion are important to you. Tell me about this ...

Emotions are everything to me, to my body of work. Emotions define us, make us act. I wish to generate positivity and positive feelings though my work. I like to re-comfort, amuse, calm and assure.


Colours have the power to generate various emotions. For several years I’ve focused on soft colours which I believe have great powers „It’s not because I look soft that I am not strong“ as I wrote on the back of one of my paintings. My eyes have always been drawn to Purple and its shades as well as variations of Pink, it made me feel better, this is also when I started studying colour therapy and writings focusing on colour and their effect.

A little anecdote, from twelve to fourteen all I used to wear was purple clothes, my head band, jacket, T-shirt, pants, socks… I looked like a purple plant, some of my teachers would call me „Miss Violette“ (Miss Purple).



Épistolaire Imaginaire, egg, London - 2016


You are interested in memory and happiness. Talk a bit about this …

Memories have the powers to awaken old feelings and make them present, actual once again. Happy moments of the past remembered in the present can make us happy now. It is a great power we hold within ourselves. The memory of a smell, a sound, a smile… Though some of my work I try to make people happy using their own positive memories. I am myself very emotional when it comes to memories, it’s something I had liked to share, to tell though my work „Today might be a bad day, but remember that one day, this one beautiful day can make you happy now“, it is an approach I use in my installation pieces.



  
Épistolaire Imaginaire, Utrecht, Tokyo - 2014


You recently had a show in Tokyo. Tell me about it …

Épistolaire Imaginaire, it was this July at Utrecht in Tokyo. I created an installation and interactive piece for the event. Eight pale pink note books lined up on a table with a pen, along with approximately eighty folded letters, I asked the visitor though a letter displayed on the table „Please leave in this notebook, in any language you like, anonymously or not, a written memory of a moment of simple happiness“. In exchange for each note, the participant could take home one of the letters. Each one of those eighty letters was unique, I wrote them all by hand carrying positive messages. The table was all dressed up with 100% cotton material I hand dyed.

The exhibition went really well, all the letters were gone and many memories shared, I am currently working on a video piece with them.

It made me so happy, people sent me emails of my letters sticked on their wall, tagged me on Instagram when visiting the show. It was a really communicative and a positive experience. I am looking  forward to repeat Épistolaire Imaginaire in other countries.



Johanna Tagada and Jatinder Singh Durhailey for FvF, Mary Gaudin — 2014


Describe a day in the life of Johanna. How would it begin? What would you do? Where would you go? What time would you be in bed ...

I wake up to the person I love, which is always an ideal way of starting, I feel very lucky about this. Despite I work from myself and am my own boss (oh a hard one), my days are quite similar to the ones of others. I put music on, shower, prepare tea, do breathing exercises, stretch, read and start working around 10am. I spend most of my days in our working space, be it in Berlin or London, I stop working around 8pm to cook diner with Jatinder or friends that are coming over (I am vegetarian and love cooking!). I usually work again for an hour before going to bed.  

During the day I enjoy making small breaks to take a walk, enjoy a cup of tea. I also take japanese lessons in Berlin and take my exercise book with me when leaving.

If traveling, I spent the entire day out, my camera, with me. Sleeping time? Around 1am, the usual is a book followed by one or two film before sleeping. Cinéphile…



Oil painting on film photography, Johanna Tagada — 2014


Talk about future projects ...

I like to keep things secret until they happen, so i won’t reveal much. In the next months should come out two publications 21 jours au Japon and Colletion #4.


Talk about a dream project ...

My biggest dream is to bring some positivity in other’s life through my artwork and share my grandparents way of life. I am devoted to my projects and hope that within the year the installation pieces and artwork I create will gain legitimacy and with it be exhibited in bigger space / institutions, so that more people can experience them.