Nora “Sparkly” Berman (US, 1989)
Residency period: April-June 2019
My project consisted of producing a series of new paintings and ceramic instruments that grew out of sadhana, an early morning spiritual discipline. I woke up at 4 a.m. every morning to chant and meditate and used that energy for my creative endeavours at the residency. What I found is that spiritual disciplines function like frameworks where chaotic emotional forces can safely be liberated and put to good use. I also learned how addictive, and somewhat limiting discipline can be. My paintings benefitted greatly from this discipline though – I was able to paint with stronger, braver movements thanks to the energy I accumulated by exercising every morning.
This approach that I undertook while at La Becque enabled me to be a channel or source of consciousness, without the confines of participating in the material world. I found the practice of sadhana connected me to nature in a profound way. I identified less with being human while I was there. I wrote a few songs about those observations that were transcriptions of experiences where my sense of awareness was heightened but naturally, through spiritual practice. I also realised that my name was Sparkly while at La Becque, and I was encouraged by residents Meg and Mitch to transition towards that identity.
In conclusion, my residency was extremely formative for my practice. I was able to practice very extreme spiritual disciplines such as fasting, in conjunction with producing new works.
Nora Berman is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles and Academy of Arts and Design in Basel. Through installation, painting and performance, she creates environments that facilitate exchange between the viewer and the artist, while using her practice as an identity-based, spiritual and transcendental experience to better understand her place in the physical world. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries such as High Art Paris, Kunsthaus Baselland and Irish Museum of Modern Art Dublin.