It's April 21st, and I am stepping into the world of Laura Limbourg for the first time. I'm thrilled by her narratives, her artwork, but most of all, her personality. It would be a shame to keep this experience to ourselves.

Laura Limbourg is a distinct figure in the contemporary art scene, thanks to her unique approach to art. She graduated in 2022 and, during her studies, participated in international art internships at prestigious institutions such as Middlesex University in the United Kingdom and Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan. Laura focuses on painting, primarily using acrylic on cotton canvas, often combined with concrete, reflecting her innovative approach to materials and form.

Her works are represented in renowned galleries worldwide, including Yiri Arts in Taiwan, Suppan in Austria, DSC Gallery in the Czech Republic, and Shin Gallery in New York. Limbourg also has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions, and her works are included in significant collections such as those of Collett and the Runták Collection. One of her publicly accessible works is a mural on the wall of Shin Gallery in New York, demonstrating her broad artistic reach. Laura primarily identifies as a painter, but her work and techniques reveal a much more complex artistic expression.

Laura, over the last 14 days, we've met twice, and each time I've left our meetings feeling there's so much more I could and should learn about you as an artist. Your paintings, sculptures, and vases strike me as a journal of your life's epochs. Which series do you think most characterizes you as a person?
I always think that the series I am currently working on best captures my work. At the moment, it's a series of self-portraits and portraits of people from my close surroundings, expressing feelings of despair, anxiety, and figures painted without a certain filter or facade that we present to the outside world. The figures are meant to express how we feel when we are at our worst and do not want anyone to see us.

Could you describe your creative process? How does it happen that a theme in your life becomes so compelling that you materialize it?
I am inspired by absolutely anything. For example, a walk to a cafe and the beautiful color of a house facade that I would then want to paint in my pictures, or an antique shop display with porcelain statues. Daily interactions with people also influence me, all of which creates a multitude of stimuli that I want to paint.

You made a mark with your final work at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, not just in my memory, but I dare say in the memories of many. The more than three-meter-tall vases literally pumped their message and, due to their size, drowned out everything else. Why choose such a dimension, and why vases?
:D thank you... <3 I wanted my thesis to be monumental because I believe it's one of the most important works in an artist's life. The spaces at the academy are especially inviting for it. A small sculpture or painting in a space with an 8-meter-high ceiling just doesn't resonate well. The year before my thesis, I was on an internship in Taiwan, where the local porcelain and ceramics had such an impact on me that upon returning, I wanted to start creating spatial works. Right after returning, I began working on large-format paintings and several concrete vases 3 meters tall.

Nowadays, you focus on painting, but it wasn’t always like this, was it? Why did you ultimately decide to study painting?
I've been studying painting since I was 15 at the secondary art school in Prague. After graduating, I got into the Academy, but I originally toyed with the idea of flying as a career. However, that ended up being just a weekend hobby of sport flying in Cessnas.

As viewers, we often see only the final, beautiful work in a white-box gallery or at a collector's home. We project our own stories and contexts onto it. On one hand, I love this, but on the other, I painfully miss the human stories. Who stretched the canvas. Who helped model the vase. Who was the inspiration and who just helped with the installation. How important are human relationships in your creation? And to what extent do they shape the final perception of the work by an independent viewer?
With painting, it has always seemed very individualistic to me. A painter can generally do everything themselves: stretch, prime, paint, transport, etc., but with sculpture, you realize how many people are needed for a sculpture or object to come into being and to be moved afterward. For those 3-meter vases from my thesis, I worked with four people, and moving those vases was another challenge. It required seven people :D That we inspire each other and consult our works with others is a given :)

One of your series was inspired by the lives of sex workers in Cambodia. How did you come across this theme? And why did you leave it?
This theme resonated in my work after traveling in Southeast Asia, where I wanted to somehow paint out what those girls were going through upon returning. At the same time, I was exploring various ways an individual could help. I found AFESIP center, which helps abused girls and girls sold into brothels, giving them a chance at a new life. The center provides them with a new home. I decided to help through art therapy and have traveled to the center several times to teach these girls to paint, and on these occasions, we created paintings together that I brought back to Europe. All the proceeds from the sale of these paintings go to AFESIP. I have further plans with art therapy in this center and hope it will be a lifelong project. However, once I started this project, it no longer made sense to continue painting about these girls and 'telling' their stories in my paintings, which is why the theme completely changed.

You return to Cambodia several times a year to spend creative time with children who were previously enslaved. As you say, it allows the children to just be kids for a while. What does this give to you? And conversely, what does it take away?
It's incredibly fulfilling for me. Every time, I think about moving there for a longer period, but whenever I am in that center, it's emotionally draining. It's not easy to listen to the stories of these girls, some with very young children under five, and hear about the horrors they've endured. In the future, I'd like to ensure that teachers could regularly come to the center so that art therapy could happen every week without my presence. I would handle everything needed for the courses. I believe it could make a significant difference, but with my sporadic visits to the center, that’s not possible.

What does it mean to you to be ambitious? And why do you think the word has a negative connotation in the Czech context?
Being ambitious, to me, means someone who is very hard-working, can't stop, and wants their work to be seen or to make an impact or change in any field. I think that in the Czech Republic, most people imagine an ambitious person as someone who pursues success regardless of whom it might hurt, but not everyone is like that.

What do you consider your greatest success in the artistic realm?
Probably that my art led me to the project in Cambodia. And then there's the solo exhibition in my home country with the Ballon Rouge Gallery in Belgium.

And what do you consider your greatest personal achievement?
This year, I got into my dream school, The Ruskin School of Art at Oxford. That was my biggest life dream.

It’s the beginning of May 2024, where can enthusiasts see your work?
Currently, there is an exhibition at the National Gallery in the Kinský Palace, which is all about hockey. Also, nearby in the depot of DSC gallery.

Thank you! For the interview and for the time you've spent with me these past few days.
I thank you <3