Hugo Markl “Mamatschi”
Opening: Thursday 13th December 2007 from 7 to 9,30 pm.
from 14th December 2007 to 31st January 2008
Interview by Hugo Markl
A: Let’s see what fits onto two or three pages. B: I intend to describe the works in short sentences; luxury has a clear physical limit. A: Alright. You once said that many Americans consider a weapon a household object. Did you mean this in a material or in a psychological sense? B: In a formal, that is, material sense. A: Did this thought play a part in doing the “Winchester?” sculptures? B: No, this hasn’t got anything to do with the sculptures. A: Didn’t an original Winchester rifle serve as a model to your sculptures? B: That’s correct. A: The shape of the sculptures looks a bit like the details could have been worked out more. B: When working on the “Winchester?” sculptures, I avoided abandoning myself to a certain creative fetishism. A: Did this concern the entire accomplishment of the work? B: Yes, it did. As far as the formal details go, the work was meant to convey a certain roughness. I’m not a designer – that’s my statement. A: The attitude is different, that’s true. But designing is a similar creative activity. Designers, too, deal with their surroundings creatively. B: Fair enough. But motif and result have a completely different background in designing. A: What about the sources? B: To some extent, the sources may be the same. You can use whatever you like, since there’s no manual. A: Is the background important? B: The drive is. A: This isn’t the same to you? B: No. I can imagine how a designer – or a politician, for that matter – feels when he opens his neatly sorted maps. He’s got to believe in his plans, and that’s also the way he wants to be known by people. A: Beuys noted that everyone is an artist, that there’s an artist in all of us. B: Maybe, but that doesn’t interest me. A: Everyone wants the same thing – that obviously sounds quite fucked up. B: You mean that Beuys was talking about his own needs by using well-worn language. But we’re not here to discuss the needs of Beuys, are we? What I’ve got to offer is variety, the kind of artistic creation you notice. Whether someone sees a Beuys-like artist in me because of that, doesn’t matter, really. A: Unfortunately, Beuys’s generalizing language also leads to stereotypical opinions about artists. It’s a lot more differentiated, even though it’s about the same thing. B: I agree. A: What do you think of professional artistry? B: That’s there to entertain our elaborate little instincts. After all, they exist, too. A: This has become your domain. B: It’s probably always been my motivation. A: And it meets with a positive response. B: Some people to like it, yes. A: I get the impression that among the works of art that are currently being created, there are pieces with unambiguous contents that appear less psychologically brutalized, whose conception looks less brutalized, especially in terms of material processing. B: You’re right. A: It seems that ‘do-it-yourselfer’-style handicrafts have reached their limits. B: It appears like. Some artists like that. I guess, it’s true, though, that by using rough materials indoors, you do kind of simulate an outdoor situation. A: Still, I’d like to see more art being put into an outdoor context. B: You mean, where it’s less isolated and not all wrapped up by architecture? A: Exactly; why? B: I, too, like the idea of art that is not surrounded by walls, even if it looks great in its usual wrapping. A: Today’s cities should look totally different. They should represent a genuine visual and psychological adventure. Unfortunately, there’s not much going on in that field. B: Adventurous art in the city? You’re right, there are remarkably few projects in that direction. A: Now you’re just being cynical. B: It depends. A: If you’re willing to make compromises, you can achieve something, too. B: Yes, city kids on psychotropic drugs “the car needs to be parked nicely.” A: That’s sad. B: Have a look at the equipment of a mid-range car, and then go have a look at the ordinary kindergarten in the city. I did it. A: Yeah, that’s very mean. B: In some places in Los Angeles, they have these schools for the smallest ones… you wouldn’t believe that at all. A: One shouldn’t dare to save money on children. B: After all, childhood is supposed to be the most beautiful time in our lives. A: So it is. Are you done with the cards? B: Do you mean the cards for the “MAMATSCHI“ exhibition? A: The poker cards, yes. B: Yes, I’m done. A: How did this work happen? B: I’ve always wanted to make a piece that imitates a game. A: Games create a certain feeling, don’t they? B: Yeah. The simpler they are, the more efficient they are. A: I find that difficult. B: Why’s that? A: Because the game defines the roles. B: Okay, but there are many contents. A: True. B: Do you think that from a psychological point of view, the combination of communication and competitiveness somehow doesn’t fit together? A: I’m not sure if it’s that. B: On the one hand, the rules reduce your possibilities; on the other hand, they give you a certain feeling of security. It doesn’t matter whether the rules are brutal. A: Yes. B: You have to adapt yourself to that. A: There’s a clear definition for reactions. B: Reactions? A: Education. B: Education, the way we recognize it in ourselves? A: Of course. B: Well, education is not some naturally given law. It was invented by us. A: Sure. And that’s where one extreme begins. B: When did you notice that? A: I don’t remember. Celebration-related contents have a cultural background. B: They do. A: Every once in a while, some guy believes that brightness is important. B: The brightness of education, that is. A: It’s horrible when education is celebrated. B: Yeah, and it’s quite common. A: Everybody gets that certain coating, which shouldn’t become too thick, though. B: Sure. A: Art often removes that coating. B: No doubt. A: The “LINK” sculptures have something extremely unpredictable. B: Perhaps. But the sort of position with “LINK” – that’s a step nobody else has taken yet. A: What was the cause for this work? B: Probably a colossal lack of perception and cross-references; and finding my own point of view on this material was actually very appealing to me. Yet, in the process, I didn’t devote myself to establishing cross-references. I make sculptures. A: Can you describe your concept to me in very simple words? B: As I’ve said, I did without any cross-references as to the “LINK” sculptures. You could say that I’ve copied folk art that won’t become folk art. A: That should be enough for a while. B: Mixed feelings are a delicate issue, and, at the same time, the one and only interesting thing. A: One of the strong points of your works is certainly their absolute impartiality. B: I’m not good with omissions, even though I can easily have a bad-mouth over something. A: Over what? B: Well, you see, I never speak directly of the ignorants in my life. A: You don’t? B: No, because when you’re unbiased, you see everything much clearer, there’s no pressure, no fear. A: What do you mean by that? B: What I mean is just – please, don’t get me wrong now – that you can form a thought of your own about everything and still be wrong. A: You mean, we don’t have a clue? B: You can put it like that, if you want. A: A new anachronism, an ignorance? B: The important thing is, it’s not about good or bad at all. A: Instead, it’s about taking a look at the matter. B: Also each interpretation is like talking to yourself. A: By making use of certain methods. B: The methods of art, for instance. That’s what I’m interested in. You have your radius, and everything beyond it is witless. A: What did you mean by “talking to yourself” before? B: Self-satisfaction and self-reassurance. A: That’s a good position. B: Yeah. A: What’s more, experience, memory, and history don’t mean the same thing. B: Exactly. Occasionally, you can test yourself: “Why do I produce these sentences, what goal do I want to achieve with these sentences?” A: That seems pretty simple. Anyone who hasn’t learned that simply likes toying with clichés. B: It may occur that you have to face some tough stupidity that has got nothing to do with you, but you all of a sudden have to confront yourself with that shit, and then, it happens – you want to give an intelligent response to that shit nonsense, but when you’re surrounded by shit, there’s nothing intelligent you can come up with. Funny as it may seem, your own intelligence makes you kaput. A: A happy ending. B: So to speak. The single one remains important.