Interview with Pauline Bechmann Nielsen
By Marialuna Hinze
M: Hey Pau, tell us a little about yourself?
P: Hii, hello I’m Pau. I am the artist behind the neon(n)nudes project and installation. I’m half Danish, half Thai and live in Copenhagen.
M: When and why did you start the Neonnnudes project?
P: I started neonnnudes at the start of 2019 by sending a nude of myself in neon lights to an ex-lover and I really liked the effect the light had so I got curious in experimenting more with it. The more pictures I took, not of me but of others, the more it made me wonder how many nudes do people actually send digitally, and what happens with them? Like to they just disappear and get lost in memory, or are they being pulled out now and again, or do they just get trapped in the big data waiting to be found as an archeological found? I don’t know, it just raised a lot of questions and began to play with making it look more digital/pixelated. It also made me raise the question of why most of us feel shameful when we are, in the purest form nude, and that was the way we were born. I feel that there is so much liberation to being nude but I guess to some extent that also makes us feel extremely vulnerable if we do not give the power to it.
I created an Instagram account (@neonnnudes RIP), which lasted for a couple of months until it got shut down due to Instagram’s censorship. That whole censorship also just fuelled me, in thinking like why can’t I show the body with the given consent? and why is the female nipple still censored? Like it just gets me so pissed by the fact that we are shown pictures of someone naked, beautiful women on advertisements, porn etc. for the male eyes, but when it comes to female owning their own bodies and showing parts that they feel confident or want to show it gets censored and shamed. It just makes my blood boil. Because that’s when I feel the body gets hypersexualized when we are not able to show the female body as what it is, but keeps on showing this super unrealistic and edited version of the body. So I think this project was also sort of a celebration of the female body in the digital age.
M: Do you hope that the project can help people feel more comfortable in their bodies?
P: Having a female gaze and having female subjects, I feel that I show a sensual and sensitive side of the female body. Like they are not hyper-sexualized, they also show the body in all their different folds and stretchmarks that might not be portrayed in mainstream media but are still sensual. After taken pictures of the women used for the project, I have received appreciation from the models, because they told me that they never saw their bodies in that way before. And I really find that every body is so beautiful in its unique way and it makes me want to capture the rawness and the beauty that I see in them. I don’t know if that helps people feel comfortable in their bodies, but I just wanted them to see the beauty that I see.
M: What is your dreams for the future? Do you wanna keep shooting Neonnnudes or do you have some other creative projects that you’re working on?
P: Neonnnudes was such a fun project to do, and I would definitely reuse or get inspired by some of it for future projects. I like to try out new projects, otherwise, I can feel a bit stuck and restless if I spend too long doing one thing. I don’t know, maybe I’ll dive back to it and do shoots focusing on the male body. But right now I am working on a short film project on female identity and hair, how feminity can be so attached in having long hair. I’ve also somehow been pretty obsessed with the devil lately, which is the key character in many of the paintings I have done. The concept that there is a devil in all of us to some extent. Some devils are more in control of our lives than others I guess.
My dream, for now, is to create more art and dare to put it out there and explore subjects such as identity, spirituality and the human body in performance, video, and installation. I also really enjoyed curating the installation, so maybe be part of creating or helping others to curate their art ideas.
M: How do you think ARTEM can help you, in achieving some of your creative goals?
P: Honestly, I feel and felt so supported to pursue my creative goals every step of the way with ARTEM. That is such major encouragement when trying to enter the art scene, feeling a bit insecure and having this imposter syndrome of can I do this? Am I good enough? Can I call myself an artist? I sometimes feel that the art world can be a bit imitating, especially when you’re new and unestablished, and ARTEM has this attitude of let’s try this out we got you, we’re all learning. It has helped me a lot to know that there is a community that encourages you to chase after your dreams and help provide you with contacts and space for it. I have been extremely grateful to have encountered you guys and being able to show my art through your platform.
Pictures from Paulines Neonnnudes exhibition with ARTEM this winter. Photos by Mikkel Ulriksen.