An Interview with Indre Serpytyte-Roberts at her Studio in Marylebone, London

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 Courtesy of Indre Serpytyte-Roberts

Courtesy of Indre Serpytyte-Roberts

 
 

Lithuanian artist Indre Serpytyte-Roberts lives and works in London. She has a BA and MA in photography from the Royal College of Art. Exhibited in both the thought-provoking Conflict, Time and Photography at Tate Modern and Ocean of Images: New Photography at MoMa, I was moved by the focus of her evocative work on challenging subjects like conflict and human suffering.

Indre previously stated that, “you have to be honest about what touches you and what you believe in” and this perfectly captures her sincere approach. Across mediums such as photography, sculpture and textiles, she finds beauty in sombre themes such as memory, trauma and loss. Her work has been met with critical acclaim in publications such as the New York Times, Artnet and Wallpaper.

Indre is collected by The Victoria & Albert Museum, Jay Jopling and the David Roberts Collection. Solo exhibitions include Focus at Frieze New York and Parafin in London. She spoke eloquently on the narrative behind her work as we explored her studio and so it’s inevitable that the artist has also been asked to give lectures at the Royal College of Art. Follow @indre_serptyte

 
 
 Installation view, (1994-1991) Former NKVD – MVD – MGB – KGB Buildings, 2009-ongoing, Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015, MoMA, New York, photo: MoMA

Installation view, (1994-1991) Former NKVD – MVD – MGB – KGB Buildings, 2009-ongoing, Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015, MoMA, New York, photo: MoMA

 
 

How would you define beauty in 280 characters or less?

 Beauty is the morning face of a loved one.

 

Why do you choose to work across different mediums?

 Every idea requires a different medium and it is usually the idea that chooses the medium not me.

 

Tell us about the spaces within which you live and work?

 My studio is in the basement of my home, which can sometimes be a true blessing and sometimes an annoyance, because I’m always at work. I love the building I live in, because it was bombed during the war and has dual personalities; the exterior has very delicate late Victorian architecture and the interior is tough and made from thick concrete.

 Do you follow rituals or a routine as you work?

I detest routine and so I usually allow the day to take its own course. The only ritual I have whilst working is an enormous amount of very dark chocolate.

 
 
  Twins  from the series From. Between. To 2016 Steel and Cotton 86cm x 144cm. Courtesy of Parafin Gallery

Twins from the series From. Between. To 2016 Steel and Cotton 86cm x 144cm. Courtesy of Parafin Gallery

 
 

Where is the most interesting place you have been exhibited? 

At the residence of Kristaps Morbergs for the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art.  

Is there an artist or artwork, which inspires you?  

My dear friend Anj Smith. She is the most beautiful, clever and hard-working artist I have ever known. Her art is serious, dark and haunting but as a person she is the most fun! I love the duality and complexity of her and her work. It’s truly fascinating.

How has your (extensive) education informed your practice?

 That’s a question for my previous tutors to answer.

 

What is your greatest indulgence in life?

 A martini with a side of green olives at Dukes Bar in Mayfair.

 
 
 Installation view, (1994-1991) Former NKVD – MVD – MGB – KGB Buildings,2009-ongoing, Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, 2018, Riga, Latvia, photo: Andrejs Strokins

Installation view, (1994-1991) Former NKVD – MVD – MGB – KGB Buildings,2009-ongoing, Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, 2018, Riga, Latvia, photo: Andrejs Strokins

 
 

Do you collect the work of other artists? If so, who?

 I leave this part to my husband, David.

Has social media had a positive impact on your work?

 It hasn’t been negative.

 How would you define your personal aesthetic?

 I go from a minimalist to a maximalist in a flash.

 

What is your favourite art gallery to visit in London?

 Dorich House Museum. It’s the former studio and home of the sculptor Dora Gordine. It was completed in 1936 and was designed by Gordine to create an incredible example of a modern studio house. I find it very inspiring visiting artists spaces that they have built, lived and created in.

 
 
 Icon From the series From.Between.To 2017. Cotton on linen canvas 65x 60cm. Courtesy of Parafin Gallery

Icon From the series From.Between.To 2017. Cotton on linen canvas 65x 60cm. Courtesy of Parafin Gallery

 
 

 

 Does your Lithuanian heritage impact your work?

Yes, it seems to be unavoidable. I guess the roots of the place one is born are forever in one’s soul. 

What do you wish every child were taught?  

Self-belief and that dreams are made of hard work.

 

Is there a subject or medium you are yet to explore?

 I have a fear of drawing and painting, which stems from the schooling I received as a child. The philosophy of art class was that the tree had to look like a tree and for a child who despised rules this was very crushing. Maybe I should get a therapist…hahahaha.   

 

Do you love what you do? If so, why? 

 It’s a curse that I couldn’t live without.

 
 
 2 Seconds of Colour, 2016, double sided fabric light boxes, 150cm x 265cm x 30cm, installation, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2017, photo: Andrej Vasilenko

2 Seconds of Colour, 2016, double sided fabric light boxes, 150cm x 265cm x 30cm, installation, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2017, photo: Andrej Vasilenko

 

Written by Flora Alexandra Ogilvy, Founder of Arteviste