Could it be
- The reason why we start this interview is
because you would very much like to make sure that anyone coming to see
your exhibition, or anyone picking up a catalogue, understand exactly what
is going on here. This is strange...
- Why should it be strange at all?
- ...it is very strange, indeed, because ever
since Cézanne most of the artists habitually point out that everything
there is to know about their works is already there in their paintings,
and so it is a waste of time to talk about it at all. In fact, even the
conceptualist artists did the same. And it is also strange, because in
this way, without actually saying as much, you seem to suggest that in
your work you strive after a very precise phrasing, so much so that your
works can even be regarded as texts (regardless of the point that they
might have unplanned, lyrical, sociological or other overtones). Why shouldn’t
the feel of a work, the imaginative experiencing of it, be enough?
- Because what I would like to see is that
it is the subject-matter of the work that is in the foreground of attention,
not the work itself. When somebody watches a work purely as a work of art,
then he or she might not even be in the position to trace back to the idea
behind it. It was for this reason that I attached texts to the works, to
the rooms, and to the various conceptual units at the Óbuda exhibition.
What I wanted to emphasize by this was that it was not enough to grope
about on the surface. These statements should be studied not in the sense
that people usually approach a work of art; rather, they should be seen
in their context.
- Just before we switched on the tape recorder
you said that the reason why you did not want this catalogue to begin with
a foreword was that on earlier occasions the authors writing these forewords
had given you (or the well-meaning viewers) a broad, associative interpretation
instead of precise definitions.
- Individual works, or the sum total of these
works, provide directions to a well-localized spot, and have done so in
all previous cases; and every time that this point through the works was
approached by others in the past, I felt that the direction was not accurate
enough. In any case, an interview is still a much more suitable form, since
the genre itself shows similarities with the concept of exhibitions: two
people converse, and their sentences, which at the same time exert influence
on one another and work in mutual interaction, unfold parallel with the
idea of the exhibition.
- These sentences are meant to encourage the
viewers to believe what they see. Or to put it differently, they discourage
them from looking beyond the work instead of trying to see something else
through the work. This might at the same time mean that you dispense with
the official interpreter, the art theoretician, the critic, who have long
been part and parcel of art activities. Isn’t this a risky move?
- I don’t dispense with them; I only ask them
to talk about the same things that I am talking about. I would like to
keep our conversation very specific, the same way that the works have very
specific things to say.
- You have mentioned that there exists a point,
to which these things give directions...
- Yes, it is better to talk about "things",
rather than works, as the texts are also essential (although I don’t think
of them as exceedingly high quality texts); and since the artistic and
the textual elements are so different for the viewers, and they approach
the same point from such different perspectives, the directions they give
might become more accurate.
- So there is a point. For some times now,
we have been living in an age, when public speech – fine art included –
is reluctant to point to something definite. Artists suffer from a constant
paranoia that if their work becomes decipherable, readable and understandable,
then it also becomes empty. Then what is the point in looking at it, or
reading it, ever again?
- No matter how accurately we try to target
this point, it will never become too concrete, too specific, too trivial.
If that was the case, this interview, too, would be pointless. So far all
efforts to be truly accurate have proved insufficient. By simply uttering
the word "God" – of course, it is entirely up to us whether we want to
use words like this at all – one does not give an authoritative definition
so as to render the notion uninteresting or empty.
- With all our aversion to hackneyed expressions,
I feel that we must not shy away from spelling out words, for this is exactly
what we have set out to do here. So what you are saying is that, with all
your works, the attached texts and also this interview, you mean to target
this point, while this point itself intellectually is non-existent for
you: it cannot be defined and perhaps cannot even be named, only experienced?
- I am in search of this point, too, and my
idea is to approach it from as many angles as possible. The Óbuda
exhibition was also about this search: to address the same problem in different
ways and with the help of different visual means (starting out from points
increasingly further away). For me, it was a vitally important aspect of
the exhibition that I regarded the objects exhibited in the five different
rooms as five entirely separate works; in this way the difference in the
respective approaches and genres was not confusing. Therefore, in each
room we used different paths to get closer to the thing that I still regard
as inexpressible through words.
- If accuracy is so important for you, then
why do you use pictures? When you think about it, pictures are much more
susceptible to associative, analogous approaches. Why don’t you use methods
such as shared ritual experiences, when you can directly influence the
others so as to follow you? Or why don’t you use texts that allow of a
more articulate use of concepts?
- As to the texts, the answer is quite plain:
I don’t think that the thing can be approached with texts alone. And as
to the way of visual phrasing, it is quite natural that I use this approach,
since I am a visual artist. At the same time, I do not regard the works
themselves as proper art works in the strict sense of the word. In the
second room I chose rather radical means in order to express my ideas in
a form other than that of artworks. Instead of exhibiting one of my works,
I asked another artist to create a work on the subject. In this situation
– in an individual exhibition – this was a rather unusual approach. Another
similar scheme was to ask artist couples to take part in the exhibition.
- ... no matter how long we prolong the introduction,
sooner or later we must start our journey through the rooms.
- Each room had a different concept. The concepts
were incorporated in a new work, as well as in a reference, quote or texts.
- Let’s start with the room in the middle.
- The room’s "motto" was:
The prolonged contacts change the physical
properties of things.
Here time was placed in the focus of contemplation.
Time, which is most obviously manifested in the form of a clock. I fitted
two beams between the two opposite walls of the room, the kind of beams
that are used in construction work to prop up the ceiling: in other words,
an object employed against the pushing force. The sharpened points of the
beams held in place the tip of the minute hands of two clocks hanging on
the opposite walls. As the clocks were ticking away, it was the dials that
rotated against the minute hands of the clocks, rather than the other way
"The past is eroding the future, the future
is eroding the past, and the two meet in the present."
In my opinion the past has the same influence
on the future, as the future has on the past. The opposing forces meet
in the present. That moment is held in position by the points of the two
As a quote, I exhibited a chair in this room:
a constituent part of one of my earlier works. The seat of the chair was
fitted with an electric heating device, keeping it at a fixed temperature,
the same temperature that a chair usually reaches when we are sitting on
it. In that case the chair preserves our body’s heat, but as time passes,
the temperature gradually drops. In this way, therefore, I freeze-framed
the moment, when one gets up from a chair. The longer we are sitting on
the chair, the more perceivable the warming up is, with the seat reaching
the highest temperature at the moment we stand up; and when it is left
there, the heat is gradually dissipated.
- Here is another projection of time: we are
talking about an exhibition closed down many months ago in the present
time. Would you do it in the same way now that you have already seen the
- In the case of this room, yes.
- How do you feel about improvisation?
- I am uneasy about it. I plan everything
down to the last screw. And I believe this is the only way to do it. I
plan everything at home, then go off with the constituent parts of the
work – everything is neatly packed and taped – and it is only when I have
unpacked, assembled the parts and tightened the screws, that I see for
the first time what I have concocted. So I only get to see it when it is
already too late to change anything. I experience the impact only minutes
before the first visitors do. As a consequence, there are works which I
would do differently (in the light of hindsight) the second time around
– if that made any sense at all.
- How can you live with the fact that everything
you make has arbitrary elements. You mentioned that your works are connected
to one another, like the rings of a chain. Still, when you actually assemble
a work, it hinges on millions of arbitrary circumstances. The materials
you were able to buy, the physical properties of the room, the lighting,
your actual mood that morning...
- There is always something that makes or
breaks a work. Yet, I cannot put my finger on what it is. Nobody can tell
what it is. When a work is good, then the arbitrary elements all work to
improve it. I always take photographs of my exhibitions myself, and when
the photos come out all right, I mean the pictures are good, then I think
about them as further proofs that the exhibition is good. And vice versa.
When I cannot photograph the exhibition properly, then probably there is
something wrong with the exhibition, too.
- The middle room, in your own words, is the
exhibition’s axis of symmetry. This is the room you have described so far.
- The tip of the minute hand was the geometrical
center of the exhibition.
- In which direction should we proceed?
- In the room to the right of the axis the
aim was to observe the effects resulting from the bodily touch, or touches:
that between ‘my body’ and the ‘other’. I arranged locks of hair in a way
that the end of the hair locks faced each other, thus making contact over
an area that was much larger than it would otherwise follow from their
volume. I fitted a ventilator under each of the five pairs of hair locks,
which blew and moved them about. The hair locks evidently belonged to different
persons: one was dark brown, the other lighter brown (and although this
was not made clear at the exhibition)--one belonged to Ágnes, my
spouse, and the other came from my hair. The motto read as follows: "Our
body and bodily parts, as well as the items worn on our bodies, modify
each other’s surface and condition. The extent of the modification (also)
depends on the hardness of the objects." As a quote, I also exhibited one
of my earlier photographic works featuring my hand and my wristwatch: the
photo clearly demonstrates that the hair underneath the watch is worn away.
This general condition, this everyday situation, whereby we wear wristwatches,
modifies our body.
- These considerations are closely connected
to our own civilizatory situation: your associations, references, intimations...
At the same time, the idea that you want to express – in this case, the
connections between the circumstances and the body’s modifications--, along
with these observations, claim to have general validity in your view. Are
you concerned with the truth domain of your works?
- I deliberately create situations which directly
bear on me and on us. It is hardly a coincidence that it is all about my
wrist, my hair, my body and my life – I don’t want to depart from this.
The everyday aspect of these works is important: we are talking about the
things that happen to me and to my environment – we access the general
truth through ourselves. Yet, all the time I try to keep remembering that
what is everyday for me might not necessarily be everyday for somebody
- There is mutual interaction between two
things. I have no idea whether my experience resembles someone else’s.
The effect of interaction is manifested differently to me than it is manifested
to you. You create works from this situation: you set the viewpoint.
- Indeed, the individual thresholds of reception
can be very different. There are phenomena which we can easily perceive
and others cannot perceive at all.
- Some of your works at this exhibition quite
clearly have sexual overtones.
- Yes, it is true. But the emphasis this time
is on the intimate moments of a couple. It is obvious that two people who
live together long enough will start to mold one another. The everyday
interactions that form the subject-matter of this exhibition work between
people, too. Between the bodies, as a consequence of the years spent together...
Take, for example, their gestures that begin to resemble – and that is
only the outside. As to the inside, their characters go through a similar
formation process during the years spent together. I was curious to see
how this worked in our everyday lives. I asked artist couples to answer
the following question: How does their shared everyday life affect their
personalities and artistic programs respectively? The entire exhibition
was about friction and processes of mutual interaction. In this sense,
this, too, was a sexual reference. It was the gesture of asking the question
that I regarded the work of art here. The exhibited works were signed by
the artists, while I could only have put my signature on the walls of the
- On the point of signature: you do sign your
works in graphic arts.
- Only because I have to.
– How about the paintings?
- I don’t.
- But you do use a combination of letters
- It is a ten-character long sequence of digits
and letters. The first character denotes the technique (painting, photo,
installation), the next two mark the year, the fourth refers to a given
period of that year, the next two make up a serial number within the techniques
and the interval, the seventh and the eighth denote series regardless of
the date, and the last two form a serial number within the series. I have
been using this method for quite some time now, and all my works come complete
with such a string of characters.
- Let’s go back to the couples story: the
connection of the upper and the lower space.
- When I invited the couples, we held a "meeting".
Many of them complained that if my spouse was also an artist, then why
she hadn’t been invited to the artist-couples exhibition held in the cellar?
Having thought the question over with Ágnes, we decided to reject
the two most obvious possibilities: we were not going to exhibit a joint
work in the cellar (since I could not have invited myself), and we were
not going to exhibit a joint work upstairs (since the artist-couples exhibited
downstairs). Therefore, we put Ágnes’s work inside the venthole
connecting the spaces downstairs and upstairs. She created a vocal artwork
that could be heard from both rooms. Just as it happened in that folk tale:
the peasant girl brought a present and yet she didn’t bring one.
- Let’s move on: the next room?
- This is the room left to the axis of symmetry.
I asked Hunor Petõ to create a work for the given concept. I had
never met Hunor before. Many people could not understand the reason for
asking a work from somebody else for my individual exhibition. My idea
in doing this was to try to find an answer to the question of how it was
possible to approach that "point" through another artist. The room was
the result of the following concept: "the object exhibited and the exhibition
situation interact with one another in a synchronized way". How the object
exhibited determines the room, and how the physical properties and shortcomings
of the room influence the work. As a quote, I presented one of my earlier
paintings, and I deliberately bungled its lighting.
- Did you give the title of the room to Hunor
Petõ as the theme?
- Yes, I told him that, too. Originally I
would have liked to make a joint work, but he decided to exhibit his own
response to the theme. He was interested in how he, as an outsider, could
join the concept.
- How did you take his surprising decision?
- Sternly: I had much rather he conform closer
to my ideas. At the same time, I was interested to see how the same idea
could find an expression through another artist. Hunor’s work was made
of rat poison. "The vanished parts of the point produce symptoms of poisoning":
the exhibited work have the most direct effect on the viewer, a person
coming by – or a mouse coming by. On the other hand, when somebody consumes
part of the work, that shows – in the form of a deficiency--also in the
- Did you try to interfere in his work?
- No, I didn’t.
- How about if the ideas of you two had failed
to click – would you have said so?
- Thank God they clicked. I don’t know whether
I would have had the courage to say no. Hunor was a cool enough guy not
to push himself forward, but to submit to the concept.
- How do you tolerate others interfering with
your work at a thematic exhibition, for example?
- I accept it. I am inclined to understand
and to accept a concept with humility – even at the price of relinquishing
my own ideas.
- Can you subordinate your things to your
concept at your own exhibition, too?
- What do you mean by things and concepts
- Things are the two beams and the clock,
and the concept ...
- ... is what the two beams support. My answer
to this: the concept is what matters. I often have ideas that seem useful,
but I am forced to discard them, because they do not fit into the concept.
It always frustrates me when I cannot do things, which in another context
would be great, just because – as I feel – they jeopardize the integrity
of the "whole".
- Does this humility make any sense at all?
Who appreciates it?
- The point whether it makes any sense does
not depend on whether it is appreciated. In fact, appreciation doesn’t
come into it at all: it is a personal matter. It adds to the problems when
one has to sweat out concrete works. Nevertheless, it is still better,
and also more honest, to believe in a great unity.
- What does the quote refer to in this room?
- In addition to surveying of the exhibition
situation, it refers to a method of painting that I have been using for
some time now, a method that I also regard as one ring in the chain of
the "whole". As an exception, the quote in this room refers to not a concrete
exhibition but to a fictitious one, or to an exhibition where a very similar
painting might have been shown.
- You might like to explain the essence of
this method of painting.
- At least two canvases make up each of these
works. I turn the canvases so as to face each other and to make contact.
Next I pour paint between them; when the two canvases are made to slide
relative to one another, it is the displacement and friction that smears
the paint on both canvases. (In
one of his earlier writings* Ernõ Tolvaly found this to be a highly
erotic process.) There are two obvious ways to make the canvases slide:
either I hold them at the corner and rotate them around that point, in
which case I produce a circular smear, or I shift them along one of the
edges, in which case I produce a straight smear – without seeing what I
am actually doing. The main point is that the same paint is being smeared
on the surface of both canvases at the same time, and that this smearing
process produces a similar motif on both canvases. After the separation,
the canvases, which painted one another, form a single picture. In an earlier
commentary, Balázs Faa referred to them as "self-painting" pictures.
- "The two space segments exert an impact
on one another along the surface of contact synchronously and in equal
measure", this was the motto of the room furthest in the back.
- Here I arranged two, relatively large bodies
when compared to the size of the room, in such a way that one was on top
of the other, separated by a distance of a couple of millimeters. This
gap presented a plane, the plane of contact between the two bodies. "In
consequence of the weight of the body on top: diametrically opposing pressure
forces arise in the plane of contact between the two bodies." Therefore,
the force exerted by the top body on the body below is equal to the force
exerted by the body below on the body on top. These are two opposing forces
canceling out each other. By separating the two bodies, I made a physical
representation of the phenomenon. A beam of light shot through the gap,
producing an image of this plane on the opposite wall.
The quote referred to an earlier exhibition
of mine at Szentendre, where I hang two curtains in front of the windows
of the exhibition room. The windows were evidently closed, yet the curtains
were blowing about in the wind. "The curtain can be regarded as the surface
of contact between the outer and the inner space. Every time a small breeze
moves the curtain, one of the spaces takes away a small part of the other,
thus alternately loosing out and gaining at each other’s expense." The
curtain is the membrane separating the outer space from the inner space.
Its displacement indicates how the outer space has gained at the expense
of the inner, and vice versa. One space steals a segment from the other.
I fixed the bottom edge of the "quote-curtain", while the top part was
hanging loose and flying high.
- Have you ever tried to guess what the well-meaning
visitors could think on entering the room? I mean they see two clumsily
joined huge boxes, a lamp, a light beam, and a curtain fixed on the wall,
- OK, I know what you are getting at, and
you are perfectly right. Quite often I am unable to express my ideas unequivocally.
I get from somewhere to somewhere else: this "somewhere" is the sketch
of a work, but the same road cannot always be traveled the other way around.
I know. This was why I felt it necessary to add texts to the objects. And
I chose to place the texts not at their usual position underneath the works.
I wanted them to become part of the work somehow. If someone wanders in
the room and sees the beam, the bodies, he or she will obviously fail to
make sense of the whole thing. But once this person has been through all
the rooms, and has read all the texts, then I must assume... All these
together should give the viewers a clue for a more advanced interpretation,
so that they do not worry about the color of the walls, and do not see
it as a monochrome surface of a painting, etc.
- The fine art of the past centuries have
always made sure that the work itself determine the mode of perception,
and also the point from which it should be viewed. In the past one hundred
years this point has been deliberately placed within the work. Where do
you put this point?
- The work of art is like a lens, through
which we view something. It only works when we hold the lens in the right
way. What I am saying is this: if you stand here, this is the way you should
hold the lens to make sure that you see what I see.
- In your opinion, is the visual expression
– the way you organize the effects (the shaping and connecting of objects,
the surface, the color) in your possession – language-like in character?
- This question doesn’t interest me. Nor do
the aesthetic considerations. I had learned my lesson at the time, and
I should be able to tell what expression works well and what doesn’t. But
that doesn’t concern me at all. Of course, you always enjoy when things
turn out so as to make this or that term applicable to your work . Everything
in the fifth room was white: the box, the light, the nylon curtain. When
that is the way something turns out – in direct consequence of the theme
or the conceptual core – , then I let it be that way, as I was not averse
to the effect. But I would not confuse this with the situation when a work
of art makes a point of grouping the elements around a strongly visual
motif. I don’t think that this is what motivates me in my decisions.
- On the contrary, you seem to choose situations
and materials so as to deliberately contradict the established grammar
of visual art. The two white-washed boxes in the fifth room were, to put
it mildly, rather clumsy. They did not want to satisfy any requirements
of visual pleasantness. Do you have any rebellious feelings?
- Not that I know of. On the other hand, by
doing nothing to that effect I obviously work towards the position that
my work will not satisfy these criteria. When I invent these things, I
am much more interested in the preparation, in the classic work phases:
finding the material, preparing the surfaces, completing the work – by
the way, I do this all by myself. I could not bear it, if someone else
did: contracting a carpenter and paying him. Within my limitations, I strive
for perfection – while accepting my limitations. However, despite all my
honest efforts, the end result is still botchery, which is all part of
the idea: it is about us, about our things, our environment.
- The decision to execute the works in your
own hand and the willing acceptance of cheep materials and objects as examples
of bona fide "Hungarian paltriness" do have a connection, therefore. Hence,
I believe, the description of the first room.
- The desk, the small lamp and the little
shelf are all objects from my childhood. Here the personal relationship
was the important factor, the harmony between us. The accompanying poster
is also the impression of our fallibility. For me, the room’s concept was
the observation of important everyday phenomena. Even if you don’t happen
to have one at home, a poster still means "the warmth of the home" to you.
All the items I selected are of the type that you would describe as everyday
objects of our own environment. (Only the stairs were made specifically
for the occasion as a "work of art".)
The wooden shelf – it is still here behind
me – was in our first flat, fixed to the wall with brackets; then we moved
to a new home and for some practical consideration I had to shift the brackets’
position. That was when I noticed that the paint was missing at the original
position of the brackets. I included the shelf in the exhibition, because
for me it illustrates how we use the objects, how they accompany us, and
how they change when we change their function. I had cut one corner of
the shelf with a saw in order to make room for the gas pipe. There was
no gas pipe at the exhibition, yet anyone could guess the reason for that
notch. The objects preserve the gaps, the changes, for posterity.
The same applies to the poster: you fix shelves
over them, or place lamps in front of them, and the usage leaves its mark
on them (it is an added curiosity that the marks are left on a picture,
rather than on the wall).
I move the shelf to another location but it
leaves its mark here.
Next to the door there is a hook for hanging
up the keys – the circular mark of the keys are left on the poster. If
the hook was there to hang your coat, then it would leave a different mark.
From the hook and the mark we can deduce the purpose.
- No matter how much the notion of art has
been studied during the past decades, the great Bottle Drier can no longer
be used for drying bottles. It would be an act of disrespect. By exhibiting
the bottle drier, one demands one’s disrespect to be respected. After the
exhibition you dismounted the shelf and brought it home. To be used as
- This is what happened. I regard the situation
to be the work of art. I never see the essence in the objects. After being
on display for two months, the small lamp is once again used in our home.
The situation at this exhibition was about signs, traces and wear, not
objects. It is what has been worn off from these real objects during their
usage that I regard as the art work.
As a quote, I included the ‘paneling work’
in this room. It was originally made for an exhibition in Ernst Museum,
for a specific location and a specific occasion. I chose a section of the
wall where switchboards, electric mains points, and similar gadgets were
installed. It was for this four-meter-long wall segment that I manufactured
a section of paneling so as to adjust it to the "confusing" elements found
here. Before the exhibition, I assembled the paneling and started to ‘use’
it. Wearing a coat, I was walking up and down in front of it, in such a
way that the elbow of my coat was touching the panels. This long walk produced
a wear on the panel at elbow height, as well as wearing off the coat’s
material. I exhibited both the panel and the coat, as well as the noise
of the process, but in this case, too, it was the wearing process, which
resulted in the course of the 15.7-kilometer walk, that I regarded as the
work of art. Yet, when I quoted this work, once again I had to resort to
the panel and the coat in order to talk about the process of parallel wear.
Naturally, it is hardly by coincidence that
I chose the paneling as a media of the wearing process, because this, too,
is associated with what we conceal in our home; we know that this is what
surrounds us, but we are not particularly proud of it. In a wine cellar,
too, the crumbling wet walls are covered with panels, because this makes
the place homey and friendly. And then the paneling preserves the traces
of long use.
But back to the lamps: in this situation I
set up lamps at two points. There was a table lamp with a reed shade on
the desk and I fitted the above mentioned shelf with a swivel lamp. These
lamps provided the lighting for the exhibition room. The objects that functioned
at this exhibition really work in their own capacity. And thus they created
their own atmosphere. The swivel lamp fixed to the shelf illuminated the
quote: the above mentioned paneling section; and the table lamp lit the
poster, with its shade leaving a mark on the poster by regular rubbing.
- It would be even more unequivocal if you
brought not only the kitchen table, but also the entire kitchen. Or better
still, if the viewers went to visit your kitchen.
- What you are referring to: for the Duchamp
exhibition I did indeed take our entire kitchen. Or to be more precise,
a duplicate of our kitchen. As to the kitchen table and chairs, these were
actually taken to the show; but regarding the kitchen itself, I made a
reconstruction. And I did indeed come to the conclusion that this thing
would work really well, if people could come to our kitchen and check out
what is happening there. The rejection of such ideas is perhaps explained
purely by practical reasons.
- What else have we missed from the description
of this room?
- The small door step. This was the only item
that I made specifically for this occasion. The room had a door leading
to a storage space that was not used during the exhibition, and this door
was painted white so as to make it as inconspicuous as possible. I fitted
this door with a poster, the kind of poster that is sold for just that
purpose. And I made a step and installed it in front of this door, suggesting
that the door was constantly in use, with apparent signs of the wear caused
by stepping on it. I only mention it in brackets that there was a similar
wooden flight of steps in the exhibition building, which led to the floor
above, and the surface of which was worn down exactly the same way that
mine was, but in the end I did not elaborate on this discovery at the exhibition.
- By combining new compositions and quotes
of your earlier staff, you have presented your work in the form of a continuous
- It is not a retrospective exhibition by
any means. On the one hand, I did not include my former works, I only made
reference to them; and on the other hand, these quotes only referred to
the preliminaries of the five rooms’ concepts.
- Why did you decide against including any
of your graphical works, an art form you continuously practice and one
that would have been extremely relevant to the exhibition?
- The quote that came in the form of painting
could have equally been a graphical work. I have still been active in graphical
art, but as a concept it can be dated back to the time when I came up with
the idea. I did not want to reach back in time as far as that.
- When you pick up a copper plate and apply
paint to it, then pick up a fine sheet of paper and make a print, the end
result will almost inevitably be something aesthetically appealing. This
is almost unavoidable. At this exhibition you seem to have been at pain
to avoid such situations and objects.
- This might have had to do with my decision
to use a painting. Nevertheless, I would like to point out that I produce
a great deal of prints by this printing procedure. The public will see
only a fraction of these, those few that I eventually select. When these
prints are made on the right paper, using the right paint, and in accordance
with the classical method, then – as you pointed it out – the aesthetic
end result is almost guaranteed. By contrast, using this procedure only
those sheets will be like this, which I select after printing: a small
fraction of the complete series. But while on the question of prints, let
me make a comment! Formerly, whenever I was thinking about the ‘thing",
or I was saying something about it, or I was writing on the subject, I
deliberately tried to avoid using expressions such as ‘leaving a print’
or ‘printing’, or their synonyms. I did not want these expressions to be
linked with my past as a graphic artist. Nevertheless, these expressions
came up in this interview on a number of occasions. Could it be that it
is impossible to avoid using such terms? I mean, is it possible that I
should emphasize the point that this exhibition is (also) about the symbolic
process of leaving prints on things: the prints of our everyday lives,
our body, our space, our community on our environment, our lives , our
- You seem obsessively determined to make
sure that the outsiders understand what you are doing. This understanding
means translating the messages into words – while even the wildest concept
loathes the idea not of the words but of translatability into texts. Then
you revert to using the objects shown at the exhibition in their original
function after the exhibition. You seem to be doing a whole list of things
considered improper in the salon of art. While in a professional sense
you are in control of your artistic means, your intention is to rid these
works of their enigma. How dare you?
- Do you really see these as improper things
to do? Talking about being improper, I think a rather more ‘curious’ aspect
of my exhibition was the point that the works of other artists featured
at my individual exhibition. I think people found this a great deal more
difficult to cope with. As to your list of improprieties, my answer is
that I regard the aim more important than any considerations of propriety.
What is deliberate here is the rejection of the trends and the fashions
(although the fashions cannot entirely be avoided altogether). But even
that is of no concern to me.
- Thank you for the interview.