Hidden Door

Meet the students in our visual art programme

We sit down with five visual artists who are presenting postgraduate projects at this year’s Hidden Door Festival

Yanze Wang

Zosia: Thank you for your time. Could you introduce yourself shortly, tell us your name, where you’re from, what you’re studying…

Yanze: I’m Yanze Wang, I come from China and I’m doing Illustration MFA at Edinburgh College of Art.

What do you focus on in your work?

I focus on human beings and also the connection between environments. All my works always come with words, short stories.

And what is your favourite medium of expression?

I think it’s gouache but I also like to use pastels, wax pastels, acrylic and watercolour.

Do you have a favourite artist that inspires you?

I like an illustrator named Mouni Feddag. She uses very brilliant colour combination and her figures are very vivid. They are not rigid, stiff figures posing for you, they’re like real life but they are also involved in funny stories.

Tell us a bit more about the piece that you will be presenting during Hidden Door Weekender.

I will display two series of illustrations. One is about a day with my cat: from the 8AM when we get up, until my cat is gone and we are looking for it. The story is quite simple but what is its main feature is the colour. I really liked the combination of colours that I used. The other series is a book. I did it to express my bad mood at that time (laugh). It’s a collection of short stories combined with illustrations. At the beginning it is about loneliness and sadness, and the last chapter is about happiness. It is about this change.

This sounds super exciting! What are you the most looking forward to during Hidden Door Weekender? Do you have a favourite artist that is performing?

I’m looking forward to live music in general (laugh). I heard that last year was very interesting but I didn’t go, because I travelled back to China.

So this is going to be your first time at Hidden Door.

Yeah. And I heard that there are other great visual artists involved and I’m really excited to see them.

We all are. My last question is, what are your plans for after Hidden Door?

After Hidden Door I will move back to China.

Are you graduating this year?

Yes. I will first do my final exhibition at the Evolution House and after deinstalling go back home.

I will bear that in mind and come to see your final show. Thank you so much for your time and this short interview.

Thank you.

Alex Mascolo

Zosia: Could you tell us a few words about yourself, where you’re from, what you’re studying.

Alex: My name is Alex Mascolo and I’m from London. I study Interdisciplinary Creative Practices at the ECA. It consists of working in a kind of interdisciplinary way between photography, art and anthropology.

What do you generally focus on in your work? What are the main themes?

My main research interest is death and particularly death within Britain. We find it quite difficult to talk about it here, despite having a big fascination with the violent side of death. But natural death is one of these things that we don’t really discuss, so my photographic work intends to break down that taboo of the subject of death and provoke the discussion around this topic.

What medium is your favourite form of expression? Is it photography?

Yes, I normally do film, photographs, I like to play with the 35mm. In this project [for Hidden Door] I specifically tried to experiment with the use of sound as a way to provide context and background for the images, because I thought that it was quite important in this case. Rather than having written explanations, the sound of the individual speaking really gives this background intimacy.

Do you have a favourite artist or artists that inspire you?

A difficult one. I’ve always been drawn to documentary photography and the use of film and bright colours.

So you’re more interested in a medium itself than in a particular artist.

Yes, exactly.

Can you tell us a bit more about the piece that you will be presenting during Hidden Door Weekender?

I’m going to exhibit a series of photos which is a range of personal dedications. I wanted to convey the universality of commemorative tools and objects, which show the personal side of death but also its universality at the same time. Anything can be used as a commemorative tool to remember someone, as a memorial. The project consists of the photographs of people holding these objects and the sound clips that accompany them, which explain how these people came across them, why they have them, what these objects mean to them.

What are you the most looking forward to during Hidden Door this year?

I’m really excited about the whole line up to be honest. It is such a good programme and an amazing opportunity to show this work and especially because it is the topic of death, which you don’t really see that much in this kind of festivals. It is quite exciting to be able to do that but also just to be part of it.

Just one last question. What are you plans for after Hidden Door?

Working on my dissertation (laugh) and then applying for PhD.

So you’re planning to stay here in Edinburgh.

Yeah, I think so. But I also want to be working more on the subject of death in society and open up the discussion around that.

Thank you so much for you time and good luck with your dissertation.

Thank you!

Ayshia Taskin

Zosia: Could you introduce yourself briefly, tell us where you’re from, what you study.

Ayshia: I’m Ayshia Taskin, I’m from Scotland and Cyprus. I’m doing MFA in Contemporary Art Practice at the ECA.

What do you focus on in your work? What medium is your favourite form of expression?

I do a lot of installations but I also use my body in performance art. If I’m doing a video, I’m normally present in it in some way, though usually as a character, not as me. I mainly focus on food and eating or any kind of just daily tasks, always straight to the point: playful, absurd, tacky.

And your piece for Hidden Door is also about food. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

The piece I’m working on for Hidden Door Weekender is based on vore. Vore is a fetish of being devoured, either by food or devouring food. So it is a sexual fetish time but at the same it’s also interesting because of the trends surrounding it. Do you know MUKBANG? It is a trend of watching women eat for sexual pleasure. It can be a normal thing, a sausage or a bag of crisps, or lots and lots of different fast food. People actually pay these women, who are normally really skinny or buy them tons of food to eat it in front of the camera. Sometimes they’d record it but it’s always really long, you have to seat there for the duration of the whole act of eating.

So the piece that you’re presenting is a video installation?

Yes, it is. I don’t consider myself a video artist, it’s always accompanied by an installation or something else. I don’t like having just a video shown on its own. It has to be mysterious I guess, people need to discover it.

What are you the most looking forward to during Hidden Door this year?

I think what I’m looking forward to is meeting people and also seeing my work there. It is different when you talk about it than when you actually see it. I also want to see how all the work comes together during the festival. I find that really exciting.

What are your plans for after Hidden Door, during the summer?

In the summer I will be sending my work to Athens in Greece, it’s a video piece. They are making a film based on Greek myths and the myth is that if you whistle after 6 o’clock, the devil will come (laugh). It’s based on superstitions. In Cyprus we have the same myth, and I used to whistle to my dad’s face after 6 o’clock to laugh at this. I used to find it very funny. So I’m sending a video work for this project.

We wish you good luck with it and looking forward to see your upcoming projects! Thank you for your time.

Thanks so much!

Becky Sutton

Anna: Tell us a bit about yourself: what you study, where you’re from…

Becky: My name’s Becky, I’m originally from Bristol, which is south-west of England. I did my undergraduate degree in Birmingham in Fine Art. Here I study Environmental Arts.

What is the focus of your work? What is it that inspires you?

Basically on this course we have multiple field trips to different parts of Scotland, like the Highlands and this year we went to the Isle of Lewis. It all started there and since I did film at Birmingham before I came here, I started with film again. I began to film tiny parts of the living environment, and then I would eventually turn that into this abstract imagery. I specifically focus on this place where water meets land.

Was there any artist that inspired you?

Originally I looked at a lot of video artists, for example Pipilotti Rist. She does video installations, huge and immersive, like you’re lying on the floor, on the pillows, and there are all this projections, all kind of ‘in your face’, amazing and colourful. But there’s another artist I’ve been looking at recently, called Bill Viola, and he does beautiful video installations, a lot more subtle and that’s who is influencing me right now.

What are you the most looking forward to during Hidden Door Weekender?

I’m just so excited to be seen alongside all these different artists and the musicians that I like and I’ve been listening to for years. The building itself is also incredible. I just love the idea that someone can walk through the hallway and then suddenly see my prints creeping up these derelict walls. I feel like these prints almost look like peeling off the walls, I don’t know. (laugh)

What are your plans for after Hidden Door and the exhibition of your works?

To graduate. (laugh) And hopefully stick around in Edinburgh, do as many exhibitions as I can, and then I’d quite like to go travelling and do volunteering abroad, environmental-based obviously, because this is why I make this work. I don’t really have big plans at the moment. (laugh)

Good luck with all of them. Have you already thought of your new project?

My work is very process-based, so this is why I have travel planning for after the degree show. It just happens, it’s very fluid. So no, I try to think about now rather than the future, though maybe I should start thinking about the future… (laugh)

We wish you good luck with everything you do. Thanks so much for your time today.

Thank you!

Dara Etefaghi

Zofia: Could you introduce yourself shortly, tell us what you study, where you’re from?

Dara: My name is Dara and I’m from Iran. I’m doing a PhD in Composition.

What do you focus on in your work? What medium is your favourite form of expression?

I focus on unusual ways of creating contemporary audiovisual art through technological experimentation with an emphasis on the aesthetic and cultural implications. I deploy a digital approach to sound and image synthesis.

Do you have a favourite artist that inspires you?

Ryoji Ikeda.

Could you tell us more about the piece that you will be presenting during Hidden Door Weekender?

Iners is a real-time audiovisual system that is part of a larger project I’m developing. It’s a virtual world made up of abstract spaces and audio visual entities. It explores ordered chaos, densely layered soundscapes and morphing of 3D shapes.

What are you the most looking forward to during Hidden Door?


What are your plans for after the event?

Continue working on the project.

Looking forward to see the final version. Thank you for your time!