A new interview with me by Jessica Scherlag is up at fyeahwomenartists.com. Here is the full text:
Anne Percoco was born in Boston and lives and works in Jersey City. She received her B.A from Drew University, attended Rutgers for her M.F.A., and has had solo exhibitions at such locations as A.I.R Gallery and NUTUREart. Below is a recent interview with the artist. For more information on her work, check out her website and her blog.
Jessica Scherlag for Fyeahwomenartists: Many of your art projects take place in public, in nature, and in countries that you have visited. How do you feel about the sometimes “temporary” nature of public art/your work?
Anne Percoco: It comes with the territory of making site and situation-based work. On one level, it’s a relief not to have to keep track of and store large sculptures. However, documentation is critical for these pieces because it’s the only thing that most people will see. Usually I do the photography myself or get help from talented friends. Sometimes there’s a backstory that can’t be communicated through photographs. In that case, I’ll often put together a little book.
Indra’s Cloud; site-specific performance in Vrindavan, India; plastic water bottles, plastic rope, boat; 8 x 6 x 14 feet; 2008.
FY: I am fascinated by your use and reuse of found objects. What draws you to your materials?
AP: Conceptually, I’m interested in to materials that are widely considered to be worthless: phone books, junk, plastic waste, natural materials, etc. This allows me to deal with questions of value. The way we assign value or valuelessness to things is arbitrary—it’s usually based on our own agenda and not on the material itself. By recontextualizing waste materials, I can find great value in them. Also, the way our waste disposal systems are structured does not account for the fact that we live in a closed system. As we know (but sometimes forget), nothing disappears, even if it vanishes from sight. I’m happy to bring our waste back into our view and our thoughts. I’m aesthetically drawn to these materials as well. Often, their wear and tear and texture is beautiful; it tells of an object’s history, which then becomes part of my work and enriches it. I also enjoy the process of collecting/gleaning, as this gives me an excuse to explore my surroundings. Finally, these materials are usually free or very cheap. There are so many benefits!
The Life Instinct; 9 x 9 x 9 feet; three chairs, a bike rack, styrofoam, old TVs, cardboard, string, tape, woven reeds, tree branches, cloth, the top of a garbage can, egg cartons, paper, plastic bags, CDs, and cushions; 2012.
FY: How has your participation in residencies impacted you?
AP: It’s an incredible privilege to have the space and time to focus (e.g. Vermont Studio Center), and the networking and exhibition opportunities sometimes provided are valuable (Residency Unlimited). I find international residencies to be especially fruitful. Being in another country allows me to step outside of my own culture, which is like taking off blinders. In India, I created a residency situation for myself with the NGO Friends of Vrindavan, and I also attended Sandarbh Artists Workshop and Bangalore Artists Center. In the Netherlands, I participated in a residency at Extrapool, co-organized by Sandarbh. I’ve got a residency at SOHO20 Gallery, in Chelsea, coming up in the fall!
Weather Shield for a Migrant Dwelling; site-specific intervention in Partapur, India; plastic food wrappers & packaging tape; 8 x 5.5 x 8.5 feet; 2009.
FY: If you could go back in time knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself 5 years ago?
AP: Every time I’m working towards a deadline, there is an unpleasant period of self-doubt before I figure out what to do. This can last for weeks or even months. I’ve learned that this is unavoidable and to trust myself and my process – to welcome the uncertainty. Nothing comes into the world fully formed.
FY: What creative people inspire you?
AP: Francis Alys, Mierle Laderman-Ukeles, Ann Hamilton, Robert Smithson, Fischli & Weiss, and Rebecca Solnit.
Field Studies; collage from NY and NJ phone books; 14 x 8.75”; 2011.
FY: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist? What did you want to be growing up?
AP: I was into lots of different things growing up, and I didn’t feel pressure to choose. I think I started focusing on art towards the end of high school. In college I double majored in Art and Art History and minored in Chinese!
FY: What upcoming projects are you working on?
AP: This summer I’m starting a shrine project in Jersey City. This will involve building shrines out of found materials, dedicated to infrastructural elements in abandoned, overgrown junkspaces. There might be an augmented reality project in the works as well. I’m also thinking about what to put in the Bronx AIM Biennial next summer.
Kilmer Shrines, Site 5; site-specific project in Piscataway, New Jersey; wood & found materials; 2’ x 2’ x 3.5’, 2007-8.