A conversation with Genevieve Lutkin
Your story for Rassa Botanicals centres around the figure of a woman surrounded by flowers. Who is the muse, have you collaborated before?
The woman appearing is performance artist Hollie Miller. We met whilst studying together at the Royal College of Art in London and became close friends thereafter. Despite having our separate creative practice, a draw to the sensual, the visceral and intimacy connects us. Over the years we have helped one another on projects, although we’ve not fully collaborated yet – this is something we want to do. Seeing Hollie perform is so very moving, she is always a joy to work with.
Skin & emotion. What do these connected words mean to you?
There is a beautiful pleasure in the tactile quality of things, an instinctual curiosity to feel the weight, smoothness or temperature of an object. It skims the unconscious primal that sends us reaching to physically connect with others, to interlock fingers, to embrace. My work seeks to capture this sensuality in varying forms, giving skin and touch its own unique language.
Having a busy life, you need to make time to balance. Do you have any particular well-being ritual or routine?
I always rise early, I find it particularly exciting to be up before the rest of the world. I drink warm lemon water and play music, I then move onto coffee and the day ignites. It is important for me to make contact with nature, to walk or run through it, plunging into cold water where possible. Conversations with friends are also essential and nourishing.
How do you take care of your skin?
I love how the sun feels on my skin, but always keep my face in the shade. My mother has red hair and hundreds of beautiful freckles, she let me know that skin is precious and fragile. I sometimes wear makeup but not always. I like to scrub away dead skin from my body and then use oils to feel restored. My skin feels at its best after a swim in the sea.
You have been to many different landscapes around the world, which one does your mind travel to when you want to disconnect?
There is a stretch of coastline in North Norfolk, where I grew up, that I revisit continually. Vast and expansive, it’s more desert than beach. Massive skies seamlessly merge into the land. I’m drawn to places that have stillness. I spent some months in New Zealand several years ago, where the sparse population, particularly in the South Island, means you can often find yourself truly alone in the wilderness.
From architecture to photography and sculpture, you have set a beautiful mind map of references. Pick one that will never fade from your memory
Carlo Scarpa’s Tomba Brion Cemetery rendered me speechless. The two tombs belonging to Giuseppe Brion and his wife, Onorina lean in towards each other as if embracing or kissing, an elegant, eloquent monument to undying and eternal love. Never before has architecture moved me to tears.
What is beauty for you? – Is there a specific picture from this work that represents it?
I find infinite beauty in the discarded, the accidental, the overlooked. Beauty in the hidden, in shadow. A wine stain on a table cloth, a plastic bag meandering downriver. Perfect sculptures appear in forgotten things or the thrown away. So I would choose the image of the dead flowers. Their paper-like perished forms are an ultimate embodiment of beauty, just on the cusp of demise. Are they at the beginning or the end of the life cycle? Death brings renewal; life springs eternal.