Some time with Vivien Kohler by Liam Horn

Recently Jozi-Deep had the privallege of speaking with locally based artist Vivien Kohler. We asked him a few questions and here’s what he had to say.

1. Being an experimental artist,how would you describe your artistic style?

I actually don’t think of myself as an experimental artist. I consider myself more as as an explorer, a scientist if you will. At the moment I’m really enjoying connecting seemingly divergent artistic techniques. This is rather new to how I’ve come to understand my approach. In the past I considered myself to be quite a traditionalist. So coming to terms with new processes and approaches has taken time. To answer your question then, I would describe my artistic style as.

2. How does living in jozi add to your artistic vision?

Living in Jozi has affected my artistic vision slowly. I usually take a while to come to terms with things. I tend to ruminate on circumstances to fully comprehend its entirety. The Jozi aesthetic has challenged me, especially as someone who comes from Cape Town. It has forced me to consider different ways of doing, pushed me down different avenues and coerced playful attributes I’ve forgotten.

3. What are some of your favorite piece’s you’ve created?

Most of the pieces I consider my favorite are thought of as such more due to their process of creation than their final visual appeal. I absolutely love the process of my works and often leave clues as history of the process. But here are a few of my favorites nevertheless. 

1 – My iron lung

2 – Embryon 

3 – Devela


5 – Cyta 

6 – TrnScend3R3

7 – G-RM

3b. What were you thoughts behind creating these projects?

My process is usually intuitive. So during the creation phase it’s more about push and pull, problem solving and discovery. At this point I am usually very hard on myself, a lot of wrestling with the different media trying to find coherence. My process tends to be a personal journey much like traveling through a dark tunnel searching for the light.  It is only after I’ve gone through this journey that I discover the meaning or the artwork. The words to me are secondary. 

4. Which other artist’s do you find inspiration from?

The artists who first inspired me to pursue art as a career are Willie Bester & Cecil Skotnes. There after RB Kitaj, Anselm Kiefer, Joseph Beuys, Robert Rauschenberg and the writings of Wassily Kandinsky influenced the my material, visual and conteceptual identity. More recently I have found inspiration in the works of Angel Otero, Mark Bradford and Kevin Beasley. 

5. How did your journey with in the Art industry begin and would you have any advice for up n’ coming artists starting up?

My journey started in my second year while studying Graphic Design in Cape Town. Midway through my studies I fell ill and ended up in hospital. While there the only thing I could think about was how I was going to do art, even though at that time I wasn’t doing art at all. From that point on my mind and path was made clear. 

The art journey is a very personal one. Each artist goes on a journey unique to themselves. The most important part of that journey I feel is that of self discovery or knowing oneself. To have be able to voice authenticity in ones work knowledge of self is vital. 

Contact Info:

Mobile: +27 (0)72 412 3569


Instagram: @vivienkohlerart

Twitter: @vivienkohlerart

FB: Vivien Kohler / Vivien Kohler Art

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