Iris tonies

Visual artist Iris Tonies (1975) lives on a sailing ship in Barcelona. Nautical elements – the sea, ships, fenders, moorings, bouys – strongly influence her sculptures and installations. The contrast between the harsh maritime life and the intimate symbolism associated with the nautical world fascinates her. The masculine and indestructible objects made to endure wind and weather opposite the irrational superstitious rituals surrounding female patronesses like Maria of the Sea and Mazu.

The nautical habitat of Iris Tonies is a place of arrival and departure; an interface or raw edge of the world that symbolizes the traveling human being. Objects from this borderland are captured in different materials and thus lose their function and become icons. She thereby seeks contrasting meaning between material and object; a sea of wood, porcelain bouys, shredded sails. The emotional relation between artist and material leads to the process becoming a ritual.

These production rituals are laborious and rhythmical, in which the connection between artist and material gets a meditative charge. β€œIt is a process of a long breath and of concentrated and repetitive activities, just like travelling by ship. Time is essential to reach my goal and thus time becomes art.Ξ…

With her art Iris Tonies reflects on emigration. She creates ‘landmarks’ with her immense spacious sculptures that mirror her connection with a land or place. Travellers and migrants automatically blend their (cultural) paradigm with their new residence. The shaping of this new mixing ratio between emigrant and country is a central theme in her voluminous architectonic installations, that are often demountable and can be taken on a future journey. Her sculptures can be seen as temporary homestays or temples for travellers and migrants.