Pandora Graessl is a photographer, artist and creative director. She grew up in the Swiss Alps but lives since many years in Paris, where she works on the edge between fashion and art. The focus of her work is nature, which she explores and depicts with experimental projects that led her to participate, among others, to Paris Photo and the eminent Arles Festival. Pandora Graessl is the protagonist of the most recent Peruffo Jewelry campaign, realized during lockdown, capturing, seductively and flawlessly, the Guitar collection. We met her and her imagination in this interview.
How do you think you can fully express yourself?
By simply living. The way my life is, it’s how I express myself the most. What I stand for, what I’m curious about, the people I surround myself with and how I feed myself every day, either visually, auditory or internally speaking.
If you should choose a symbol to represent yourself, what would it be?
The alchemy symbol of Antimony. It represents the wild spirit of all things. Our animal part. Such as the wolf, which is said to be the closest to the woman’s soul.
If you could subvert the rules, which law would you overturn?
Capitalism. The obligation of doing money to survive.
Tell us about your most successful project and your personal way to design.
As for now, everything I create in my studio. For every project I created a world there, my world.
What is matter for you?
I’ve been very attached to material possessions; I loved to collect things, be it furniture, clothes, shoes, cool objects I found on my way… At some point it all got too much.
Materialism is a trap and takes you away from the truth; eventually you get possessed by your own possessions.
Regarding the shooting you did for Peruffo, where did you draw your inspiration?
It’s a process I’ve been exploring recently. Playing with flowers and natural textures, I started a series called “Criaturas”, experimenting with light, darkness and depth. This shoot was an amalgamation of all of this.
The Re Project and Criaturas are two stunning photographic works, could you tell us something about them?
My aim was to create a positive movement with “The Re Project” which I launched in October 2019 during Paris Photo. It is a series of B&W images of nature across the world, matched with words starting in “RE”.
When Covid broke out and quarantine hit, I stepped up and relaunched it officially, feeling it was appropriate with what we were experiencing. It’s a message of hope and love in these difficult and dark times. The only positive thing I could think of was to use this time for a deeper reflection, a reset. It gives a different approach/perspective to the world and invites the viewer to look more sensitively within and without.
“Criaturas” is a series of creatures composed with dying flowers, yet so vivid and alive; sometimes even present with tension.
What is your relationship with Nature and how do you render it through your work?
Nature has always been very central to my work and interests. I’m so astonished by the diversity and beauty out there, it’s an endless fascination. My work is an homage to it, a clear devotion.
What is photography for you?
It’s my way of painting, expressing and capturing beauty.
What do you think about collaborations? Is there someone with whom you would like to collaborate?
I love collaborations, the collision of different minds and its chemistry. I would love to do several music collaborations to illustrate my visual world. Andy Stott would be a dream, Max Richter (Mega dream!) too and Clothilde, who created the soundtrack of my first film, I’d love to do more pieces with her as I love what she conveys. Sound can really transport people into a different realm.
Tell us about a contemporary artist and a designer you find important and why.
Damien Jalet just pushes the boundary of body expressions and uses the power of nature to illustrate it. He does pieces in unexpected places, he thinks out of the box and explores the spiritual word, the immaterial. It allies all the elements I’m sensitive to – dance, nature and sound. Designer… I love James Turell, he designs space through lights and reshapes their perception. I truly adore his work.
A short-time project and a long-time one you would like to realise.
Short term: lots of ephemeral installations.
Long Term: building my future house that will eventually also become a project.
After gathering years of experience working as a producer in agencies such as ‘Management Artists’ in Paris, Pandora Graessl opened her own creative studio, “Graessl Studio”, in 2015. Building a varied creative portfolio from production to creative consulting, set design, curation, happenings and installations, she worked, among others, with Hood By Air, Helmut Lang, Saint-Laurent, Camper and institution like the Centre Pompidou. She also published on magazines such as Dust Magazine, Dazed, Vogue, M Le Monde & more.
Having grown up in the Swiss Alps, Pandora’s passions remain traveling and exploring nature across the globe. Spawned by her desire to understand our journey on this planet, Pandora started a photo series documenting the vibrant theatre and surreal beauty of nature. These photographs aim to inspire viewers to rethink their relationship with the flora and fauna surrounding and supporting us as a specie. Driven by a strong urge to share another approach to reality, a fascinated conversation with the world.