Norbi Kovacs

‘I’m an obsessed observer and my experiments are inspired by daily happenings’

How can we recognize your work? ,,I make experimental films, (performative)video installations wherein semi-improvised actions take place. They are often interactions with everyday objects, reactions to the surrounding or a dialogue with the camera itself. Exploring the possibilities of what I can do with a camera is usually the central point of my work. The combination of filming simple scenes without manipulation and mocking cinematic effects is a recurring leading idea.”

How do you start a new project? ,,I don’t really have a fixed method. Some ideas require different approaches, but I’m an obsessed observer and my experiments are inspired by daily happenings or interactions with objects I come across with. I often start filming without any specific purpose in my studio or because being fascinated by minor events on the streets/public places. Sometimes I abstract a part of them or get a vague idea what to film next. I keep experimenting with editing, improvising with projections – with objects, actions, sounds – without having an image whether it is going to be a film, installation or a performance. I like working with hands or carrying out actions (rather than performing) so often my works are either documented actions or video installations with a performance in it. It’s like editing videos with a sculptural and intuitive approach. Sometimes I have a bigger, more concrete idea – that also come from observations and readings –  what I want to do, which is rare.”

What kind of artists inspires you? ,,There are many artist from all kinds of art forms or disciplines who inspire me. It’s hard to say who does the most because different artists inspire me for a different reason. I really like the poetry, the humor and the absurdity in the works of Pauline Oltheten and Francis Alys. Their work is direct, sincere and simple yet very acute. Another artist I admire is Sung Hwan Kim. He has an experimental approach to film making, music and storytelling. He starts working with a general idea and it grows and changes while he is working on it. The films are ambiguous, you get various associations. I can’t always immediately identify my feelings or thoughts when watching, but I think it’s an interesting and powerful interaction.”

What is the reason you joined Vensterbank? ,,I haven’t been there/here before, but it looks like a great exhibition space, especially for video projections. I’m very curious about the works of fellow artists and how our works relate to each other, and of course how the public reacts to it.”

What does the city Leiden mean to you? ,,I haven’t been to Leiden yet, but I heard it’s a nice town. I’m looking forward to look around.”

Your work is exhibited in a former all you can eat-restaurant. What would you order if it was still there? ,,Probably as many different dishes as I can.”

Video stills

Performance stills

The core of my work deals with the question how cinematic elements manipulate our beliefs, how it takes on a reality that is imposed upon the viewer, while created by the viewer. I record spontaneous situations, perform improvised actions that I re-enact if necessary. 

The camera is not just a recording device that is mediating the scenes but forges the action. The objects I use are either completely random or consciously selected because of certain qualities or functionalities that trigger absurd (inter)actions and help create a scene.

Intuition is a key ingredient in my practice and often what I found unintentionally during my research has a crucial influence on the end result.