Carola Perla
Artist : Author
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Transience.  In this case, the psychological as well as physical state of homelessness. It is the common thread that runs through both my writing and visual art work.  It reflects my fascination with what constitutes home, the effects of displacement and immigration, language as barriers, and the process by which we construct new cultural identities.
 
This fascination arises from my own Banat Swabian and Peruvian heritage, its multi-ethnic contradictions and conflicted history, as well as my migratory childhood which impressed  on me from a young age the feeling of “otherness”. My suspicions that I was something of an anathema, along with my sense of homelessness, manifested itself early on in a love of Roma music, alienated fictional heroines, and portrait painting, along with an obsessive preoccupation with architectural floor plans. However, it was not until my debut novel, Gibbin House (2011), that I first treated the idea of transience consciously, introducing characters during the European postwar era who face geographic and personal exile. As such, they are forced to conquer the impotence of voicelessness in foreign places and in their relationships; people being much like strange countries themselves. 
 
As to the wall-size paper installations which constitute much of my plastic art: I began creating these mixed-media works following the completion of Gibbin House, in order to transcend the inherently hermetic nature of the writing process. By publicly exposing my words, my personal artwork, and the material culture of my journey as an author (typed manuscripts, collected postcards, floppy disks, discarded notes, etc.), I aimed to offer an intimate look into a writer’s interior landscape. This impetus evolved organically into the sculpture ‘Off the Page’, which elevates the novel’s final page to an artwork in its own right through the ephemeral combination of paper and light.
 
When the meticulously-cut yet still dangling letters of these cascading paper sculptures are lit from behind, the effect reinforces the spontaneous, oral vibrancy of language. The words themselves become transient, seemingly wanting to float off the page. At the same time, the act of cutting paper is an irreversible one, symbolizing an ironic permanence, a commitment to direction. The sculpture’s success has since prompted me to continue exploring the relationship between the traditionally inward direction of literature and the external power of visual art. My fictional subjects serve as springboards in a symbiotic creative process, although I alternately employ the paper surface for works of poetry 'chants'.
 
I have named them poetry 'chants' because they evolve from a word or phrase on which I must meditate during the process of cutting each letter freehand.  The perpetual incantation organically inspires the sound or image of the next, the motif functioning as both a visual and musical building block that slowly draws in other elements.  Since such poems depend on the immediacy of the physical creation, they are each created entirely in the moment.  This means that despite their graphic precision, they are each absolute and spontaneous originals.
 
Together with integrated elements like graphite drawings, embroidery, light features, and voice recordings, these white paper blankets of poetry hang in the space like giant conversations, addressing identity, transculturation, human value, displacement, and the power of words.
 
My next book project is the novel Humboldt’s Riches.  It is currently in progress, and will be a modernsemi-autobiographical ‘Heart of Darkness’ that leads a Romanian protagonist and her young family into Peru’s remote Apurimac region during the guerilla uprising of 1980.