Dan Civa

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Human Animal art works
Monkey portraits

Interview : Dan Civa

Transgenetic Art.

Artabus : Welcome and thank you for this interview. Could you tell us how did you start ?

Dan Civa : In the summer 1988, four years after settlement with my family in Sri Lanka, and returning back to Denmark, I wanted something special event to happen for me in Danish art life. In a great House of Culture, in a big city in the the county of my birthplace in Southern part of Denmark, I got the permission to realize a self-build Zoo-cage studio in some large rooms. After 3 months of preparing work, I could open the doors for the arrangement called "Art Studio Project" with me as organizer, exhibitor and player. Dayly, public contemplation, with many visitors, wondering through the bars when I worked with my paintings, made this arrangement very popular. The project should end after 3 months, from October until November 1988, but run until January 1989. In my Zoo-cage studio I prepared a motif-serie of large canvasses with especially endangered species and selfportraits melted together.
This arrangement gave me a good press in newspapers and interview in local broadcast.

.:: Art Studio Project
Behind bars in Zoo-cage studio by the arrangement "Art Studio Project" with free public access, dayly for about 4 months.

Artabus : How did you get the idea to paint human animals, who are your masters ?
Where does the inspiration come from ?

Dan Civa : The idea with selfportraits in animals comes from my deep interest in science and research, which lead to competent contacts in more countries. By research-minded promting the paintings gradually turned into such character they have today.
I have knowledge about ancient mythology, especially in ancient Egypt. But my inspiration is more close to our times science, where my future-related motifs refer to coming possibilities in the development of genetic engineering.
This means that I have no masters for the inspiration to my art works, only myself. Technical I prefer to invent my own methods and challenge my skill with new experiments in motif details and colours. It happens that I pick up little here and there in what I like in several directions in art history. I'm a perfectionist, whatever I choose the hyper-realistic or the more expressive way of paint-technic, also in abstractions.

.:: Human Animals
Details from human animals paintings with oil on canvas. See the paintings in Artabus.

Dan Civa : Oil paintings and drawings, in realistic style, are reflecting portrait examples of transgenetic manipulation with human beings and animals. Probably a hypothetical, imaginary development of today but a foreseeable realistic possibility of tomorrow. These art works are all, more or less, influenced from genetic reseach, but I try at the same time to go some steps further into a still unpredictable future perspective. A well-informed acknowledment of consciousness by possible things' continuation and repression of the impossible matters in life. At the same time, my mission with such paintings is a warning signal of anziety for power structure of the human race. When human, somehow, want to play God, the risk could be fatal for our existence.

Transgenetic manipulation separately with human beings and with animals, and with man & animal, with plants etc, were earlier just "a whim in the course of nature". Today and in the future these evolution-wishes can be realized genetically.
Whatever we like it or not. With the inborn need of curiosity through the human brain there´s only ethical distance to the already started gene theraphy and gene cloning with everything this brings along for mankind.

Artabus : What are you looking for in exhibitions ?

Dan Civa : I'm in a period of some few years where I don't arrange solo exhibitions in public galleries, because of the very high expenses by this. Often I arrange internal exhibitions in Art Associations by large company's, mostly with my colourful paintings from Africa, Sri Lanka and Denmark. I have in mind to arrange a very comprehensive exhibition, probably in some Art House or in a museum somewhere (maybe abroad, maybe in France, who knows..) in about two years, with most of my human animals art works and several new works. Each of these artworks take long time to create. My demand to myself is always to make the human animals as realistic as possible and in a high grade of perfection and quality.

Artabus : You are now quite famous in the art community, how do you manage it ?

Dan Civa : I don't have much contact with other artists in Danish art life anymore, because I don't like the art mentality here, and because I like to stay for long periods of time in Far East countries, where I have many friends, and where I often prepare new art works for finishing in Denmark. I love the tropics which is the best for my health. Often I go to art exhibitions, in this country and wherever I stay in other countries around the World. I would welcome an opportunity to arrange a solo exhibition in France.

.:: Drawing sketches
Drawing-sketches with pencil on paper for oil paintings (visit the Artabus gallery)

Artabus : Your biograhy in short ?

Dan Civa : From late sixties up to late seventies: Fantasy figure-motifs in warm glowing colours with acrylic on canvas, influenced from travels in warm countries like The Far East, Africa and countries in Southern Europe. Marriage in Sri Lanka 1976. Continuing through the mideigties: newrealistic paintings juxtaposing fragments from machines, scrap, buildings and more. Dèbut at the Autumn Exhibition 1979, Den Frie (Art House), Copenhagen, Denmark. Continued working with realistic motifs of people, animals, landscapes, portraits and other subjects, still influenced by experiences tropical countries, now also Sri Lanka. Temperamental periods of paintings with inspiration from nature, in abstract colorful style.
Art biography mentioned in Weilbachs Art Encyclopedia volume 2/1994.
Established privately owned gallery called "Civa Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark 1980-1984 and privately owned gallery called the "Species Gallery" 1995-1998 in Copenhagen from where VLTV (local tv) transmitted my art works with interview.
Many articles and feature articles etc. in newspapers and magazines since 1979.
Own articles, feature articles etc. in the daily press since 1993 writing about genetic engineering, art life, outlook on life, human behaviour and other subjects in a realistic/philosophic language.

.:: African life

Two paintings from my visits in African villages and me on a African termitary.

See my Africa and Sri Lanka motifs in Artabus gallery

With some of my family (and friends) in family´s estate in Sri Lanka 1976

Dan Civa : From 1988: as mentioned earlier - "Art Studio Project" and human animals and more.

I participated in art community late, when I was 39 years old. I had a period in an Academic Art School, but I like to call myself self-taugth as a pictorial artist.
Before: Commercial educated, especially as Artistic Decorator of Window Displays 1953-1957 including Business School and Commercially exam. Bergenholz Decoration Special School from 1958-1959 with diploma (got 3 x the best distinction of therory and colour compositions). A permanent appointment as Decorator, Copenhagen 1959-1961. Allround freelance Decorator and Sign Writer, Copenhagen 1961-1981. Pictorial Artist since 1968. Gallery-owner 1980-1984 and 1995-1998, Copenhagen, Denmark.
One Man Exhibitions since 1978 in Galleries and many Art Associations. Participation in Group Exhibitions : 20 times in Hanging Committee Exhibitions like Artists- Autumnexhibition, .-Easterexhibition and -Summerexhibition and several other important Hanging Committee Exhibitions.
Moreover: Dronninglund Art Center, exhibition theme: 100 Endangered Species. The Museum of Sonderburg Palace and Ribe Art Museum (organized by The Pictorial Art Association in Denmark) and a number of other groupexhibitions.

.:: early 80's
Examples from the period 1979-1985 where the paintings in newrealistic style are components from mashines, scrape and more metallic things from the human affluent society. Feature articles from this period was brought more times in Danish and Swedish magazines.
© All of the images on this website are copyrighted original artworks by their author and are protected by international copyright law. No materials in this gallery may be reproduced, copied, downloaded, or used in any form without written permission of the contemporary artist Dan Civa.
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