In the studio: Ser Serpas

Learn more about Ser Serpas, the LA-born, Paris-based artist who has been making waves in recent years, with major institutional and gallery shows in both Europe and the USA. Through autobiographical canvases and installations, she brings new life and meaning to materials found discarded on city streets.

We spoke to the artist about the inspiration behind her piece Palette Cleanser that is part of our group show 24h, how her works have adapted in recent years and what she has in store for 2023.


Ser Serpas 📸 Olimpia Dior


SSM: Where are you right now?

SS: A cafe in Montmartre.



SSM: Do you remember the first exhibition that left an impression on you?

SS: No, but I remember the last one. Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori at Fondation Cartier.



SSM: Are you currently working on an exhibition?

SS: Yes, for the Swiss Institute in New York.



SSM: You’ve had a busy few years showing in Berlin, Paris, New York, Tbilisi and Zürich amongst other places. Has your work adapted or even changed in recent years, as a result of exhibiting in museums or larger spaces?

SS: Yes, actually my work has changed as consistently as my address in the last few years, I haven't found the internal room to stay put, as of yet. I've worked on site for about half of my exhibition history so far so my work has really changed in scale more than anything, depending on who invited me and where.


The artist's exhibition HEAD BANGER BOOGIE at Galerie Barbara Weiss, 2022


SSM: 5 things you cannot live without while you're travelling?

SS: Portable charger, sim cards, headphones, my wits, and my comme travel bag.



SSM: Can you tell us about the source of inspiration for your work Palette Cleanser that is part of our current show 24h?

SS: I was literally wiping down a water color palette into a series of sequential notebook pages, as to fully cleanse the palette without 'wasting' the dried paint on it. I do this a lot where I can, which often results in canvases that are primed with various paints, which becomes underpainting in some cases. Here is a similar work in oil and on canvas:



SSM: Is it more diary or self-portrait?

SS: It's as marker of production costs and time, in a rather literal way.


Ser Serpas
Palette Cleanser, 2020
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SSM: How long has poetry played a part in your life, from reading to writing it?

SS: I did not start reading poetry regularly until high school, and rarely after that, I'm not an avid reader in the traditional sense which is a source of embarrassment for me. I write poetry fairly often though. Initially in class, in notebooks.


SSM: Do you have a piece of text or book that you keep coming back to?

SS: No, I come back to media most often. Like certain episodes of TV that can elicit a particular emotion etc.


SSM: Is there an artwork from art history that best describes your personality?

SS: Jacopo Pontormo The Deposition from the Cross, 1528