Interview with Tatjana Capuder Vidmar

tatjana-capuderby Antonio Caperna

Tatjana Capuder Vidmar obtained a MA in Architecture and Urban Design at University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Architecture in 1991.

In 1994, she was awarded a PhD in Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Ljubljana.

In 1994, she studied at the AA School of Architecture, London, UK in a postgraduate programme in Graduate Design studying an environmental park in Teheran.

In the same year she obtained the formal status of Artist in Architecture with the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia.

She worked in the capacity of Artist in Architecture from 1994 till 2006, becoming (2006) Assistant Professor at the University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Landscape Architecture.

Antonio. Tatjana, tell us about yourself. How did you get started?

Tatjana. When I was young I obtained all possible professional degrees and at the same time I participated in a lot of architectural and urban design competitions where I won quite a few awards. At that time I could say that my professional life was a success. Then in 90’s I somehow started to live on the margins of my profession in Slovenia. It was my decision. I did not follow the up to date streams in architecture because I did not want to. I was looking at what was going on (in the architecture setup in Slovenia) and I simply could not identify with what I saw.

Studying at the AA touched me very deeply at one point. It happened during the project. For the first time I was able to grasp the idea that what we see is not the only reality and that therefore our interpretation of what we are seeing might be a wrong one, or can be just a reality of our sight but not of our insight. This moved me deeply. It was like an irrational feeling that there was something I needed to investigate and understand.

Antonio. What inspired and motivated the mood of your art?


Landscapes and Prints of Nature

Tatjana. It was Nature. I admire big trees and small beautiful flowers and all plants in between. I can always be consoled by their presence. On the other side being inspired by the urge to see and understand things beyond cartesian thinking I was looking to understanding space itself. I think I am unable to create architecture without this insight. I found out that it is very difficult to find a space which hasn’t been disturbed by a human but this is the microcosm of nature – the majority of it hasn’t been touched yet. So there I can observe the pure space among the natural structures. Just observing it and appreciating it.

Antonio. Do you have any formal training in the arts?

Tatjana. I am an architect and I consider architecture is an art. But not all the buildings built are architecture.

Antonio. When did you first start to do paper models?

Tatjana. I was always fond of making paper models since I was a student. It is so fascinating to observe how forms of paper influence and determine space, and how it grows under your hands. But when I was young I never thought it might be interesting to observe how a space influences a form. This is what I am interested in now.

Antonio. What is your creative process like?

Tatjana. To be creative I need solitude. My best works were all done in my country house. I have only an improvised studio there, but what is more important is that I am surrounded by nature all around me – mountains at the back, a lot of sky above, and a great view down the valley in front, songs of birds, and a lot of calmness. This is my environment where I can work. When I work I am completelly drowned in the process all day long including nights till early morning hours.

Antonio. How has your style changed over the years?

Tatjana. As I said I was quite successful as a professional young architect untill I came back from the AA. Soon after studies at the AA my career somehow dropped to a zero point being frustrated by the commercial architecture at that time.

It was in 2009 when I found what I was looking for during the years of nothingness. And the paper models, photographed by my friend, a professional photographer – Drago Bole, are the result of it.

Antonio. What do you believe is a key element in creating a good artistic composition?

Tatjana. A contemporary curator might consider me very old fashioned in my answer. I believe that the key element in creating a good artistic composition is a message that supports life. There might be other important elements but I believe that art fulfills its purpose when it gives people a faith in life, showing them the beauty of the life, and a possibility of choosing constructive issues for surviving.

Antonio. How would you describe the themes in your art?

Tatjana. Untill now I was investigating just the microcosm of trees. I would like to go further to the spaces in between rocky structures.

Antonio. You participated at our summer school. Please let me know what you think about biourbanism in its approach to design?

Landscapes and Prints of Nature

Landscapes and Prints of Nature

Tatjana. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I participated in the summer school in Artena. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity. I consider the biourban approach to design as so close to the field I am interested in. I am very happy that I found here in Artena people I can talk to using the same language though we are coming from different professions and different countries.

Biourbanism is concerned with the wholeness and complexity of life and I think this is the only possible approach to any architectural or urban design today. Biourbanism is talking about a biophilic space which supports equilibrium between cognition and senses, is usable for all people, is supporting human affinity for nature, respects the genetic structure of the site, and is a wholeness in itself. It is a space which supports life and I think this is the a priori purpose of any space if we consider it as an entity which hasn’t yet been destructively abused by humans for their selfish profits.

During the summer school students made some biophilic spaces by placemaking in a small scale in Artena. The new spaces turned into small acupunctural needles which will most probably generate a healthier and more vivid life in Artena. We might use the same principle in bigger scales where the biophilic placemaking would generate healthier life in bigger urban and landscape spaces.

Antonio. What do you share with us?

Tatjana. I think I share with you the disappointment about contemporary results in urban and landscape spaces and I think I share with you the hope for finding a solution, and the belief that the solution is in understanding the complexity and self-similarity of spaces. Self-similarity is the only characteristic of a space which has been proved as stable. Therefore we need to create our architecture and urban design out of this stable data.

Antonio. Thank you Tatjana

Below images of “Landscapes and Prints of Nature