“OUTPUT VOR INPUT – KAUFEN SIE EINEN REISKOCHER.” INTERVIEW: TOM SACHS

Die Ausstellung „Timeline” des amerikanischen Künstlers Tom Sachs findet derzeit im SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen statt. Das Museum für zeitgenössische Kunst, nur wenige Kilometer von Stuttgart entfernt, zeigt eine Retrospektive des amerikanischen Künstlers, die erste grosse Einzelausstellung in Deutschland seit über 15 Jahren. Ein Interview mit dem Künstler wurde geführt, um mehr über die Ausstellung in Sindelfingen und über die künstlerische Praxis des Künstlers zu erfahren.

Tom Sachs Foto: Mario Sorrenti, © Tom Sachs
Tom Sachs Foto: Mario Sorrenti, © Tom Sachs

Erzählen Sie mehr über die Ausstellung in Sindelfingen. Wie wurde diese Retrospektive entschieden und organisiert? Welche Werke enthält sie?

Der Titel meiner Einzelausstellung im Schauwerk in Sindelfingen lautet „Timeline “, Das ist auch der Titel eines Werks, das ich 2016 begonnen habe, und sie verfolgt Momente in meiner Karriere und Elemente, die mich beeinflusst haben. Das Verwenden von Timeline 2016–2019 als Bezugspunkt ermöglichte uns die Aufnahme Einzelstücken wie Chanel Guillotine und Stücke von grösseren experimentellen Arbeiten wie die von Nutsy. Die Ausstellung bietet einen Raum mit dem gesamten Werk “Tea ceremony” Teezeremonie, welches gerade in Japan gezeigt wurde. Dank der Grösse der Räumlichkeiten des Schauwerks, konnte ich zum ersten Mal das Werk “World Trade Center” vorstellen.

Wann haben Sie gemerkt, dass Sie Künstler werden wollen?

Der Schlüssel, um Künstler zu „werden”, ist zu glauben, dass Sie einer sind. Als ich zum ersten Mal nach New York zog, glaubte ich, ein Künstler zu sein, konnte es mir aber  nicht leisten, die ganze Zeit Kunst zu machen. Also, habe ich in der Kunstschule Schweissen gelernt und als gewerkschaftsfreier Aufzugsreparaturmann gearbeitet, und das hat mir erlaubt, Kunst in zehn Prozent meiner Zeit zu machen. Aber diese Aufzugsreparaturen haben mir viel beigebracht über Arbeit und dass die Belohnung für gute Arbeit mehr Arbeit ist. Selbst jetzt als Vollzeitkünstler nehme ich an einem Tag im Jahr Schweissarbeiten an. Wenn sie mir an diesem Tag etwas zum Schweissen bringen, werde ich es tun.

Welche Rolle spielt McDonald’s in Ihrer künstlerischen Praxis? Und in den in Sindelfingen gezeigten Werken? Erzählen Sie mir mehr darüber.

McDonald’s ist eine moderne Ikone der Kultur und des Konsums. Ich erkundete McDonald’s in der Nutsy’s Show als die andere Seite des idealistischen Modernismus, vertreten durch Le Corbusiers Unit d’Habitation Housing Block von 1952. Es war eine massive 12-stöckige Struktur, die die Integrität der Moderne sowie ihre anschliessende Korruption symbolisiert.

Erzählen Sie mir mehr über Ihre Arbeit, die das Swiss Passport Office während Frieze 2018 gezeigt hat. Wie hat sich diese Arbeit entwickelt? Was hat Sie dazu inspiriert? Waren Sie jemals in der Schweiz?

Im „Swiss Passport Office 2018” ging es darum, Grenzen zu überwinden und um die Beseitigung des Konzepts der Staatsangehörigkeit. Unsere liberalen Demokratien sind bedroht und Menschen auf der ganzen Welt werden unterdrückt. Das Schweizer Passamt war also ein Aufschub von künstlichen Grenzen, die von Regierungen und den Unternehmen, die sie kontrollieren, geschaffen wurden. Mit Swiss Passport Office kann jeder Mann und jede Frau Schweizer sein. Ich liebe die Schweiz und ich liebe ihre Widersprüche. Ich schätze den Respekt der Schweizer vor der Natur und wie ordentlich es überall ist. Aber es ist auch der Ort, wo “böse Jungs” ihr Geld verstauen.

Swiss Passport Office Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London October 5 - November 10, 2018
Desk 1 2018 Mixed media (customized tanker desk, chair with casters, chair without casters, file holder, lamp, type-writer, tape dispenser, security camera, clipboard holder, clipboards with pens) 205,7 x 123,2 x 76,5 cm (81 x 48.5 x 30.125 in) Swiss Passport Office Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London October 5 – November 10, 2018; Bild: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac / Tom Sachs

Wie gehen Sie mit Kritik um?

Niemand liebt Kritik. Humor ist eines der Werkzeuge, die ich in meinen früheren Arbeiten benutzt habe. Ich war frustriert, wenn Leute meine Arbeit nicht erst nahmen. Ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, ernster zu sein als wir. Hunderte von Arbeitsstunden können in die Skulptur eines Holzbrands fliessen. Ich möchte die Hasser jedoch daran erinnern, dass niemand jemals Sex hatte, indem er jemanden zu Tode gelangweilt hat.

Gab es bisher einen Wendepunkt in Ihrer künstlerischen Praxis? Gibt es etwas, das Sie dazu gebracht hat, Dinge anders zu machen? Verwenden Sie eine andere Art von Material, bei der Herstellung Ihrer Kunstwerke?

Bricolage ist meine Religion. Bricolage durch Skulptur. Was mich inspiriert sind nicht neuere, ausgefallene Materialien. Ich bin inspiriert Werke aus Alltagsgegenständen zu machen und die Art ihrer Herstellung zu zeigen. Im Studio streichen wir Sperrholz weiss, bevor wir es schneiden, damit man sehen kann, dass es geschnitten wurde. In meiner Intarsie, die im traditionellen Handwerk nahtlos sein muss und nicht die menschliche Hand zeigen darf, lasse ich die Holzspäne dran. Wenn ich Porzellan-Teeschalen herstelle, können Sie meine Fingerabdrücke sehen. Es gibt Beweise, die besagen: „Ich war hier. Dies wurde von Menschenhand gemacht.“ Diese Systeme haben sich im Laufe der Zeit für mich entwickelt, aber sie stammen alle von meiner Beziehung zu Bricolage.

Woran arbeiten Sie gerade?

Wegen der Quarantäne in New York habe ich meinen Keller in Queens in eine Werkstatt, ein Studio umgewandelt und ich habe die meiste Zeit dort verbracht. Ich habe viel gemalt und an Werken für “Space” gearbeitet. “Program 4: Rare Earths (Programm 4: Seltene Erden)“, das wird in den Deichtorhallen in Hamburg im Sommer 2021 zu sehen sein.

Welche Rolle sollten Künstler in der heutigen Zeit spielen?

Künstler müssen auf die Maschine achten. Diese geht nicht weg. Und alle – Sie, ich, Exxon Mobile, Donald Trump – wir haben alle einen TV-Kanal, bestehend aus all unseren sozialen Medien und unserer Website und was auch immer sonst. Es ist klar, dass wir unsere eigene Identität haben und unser eigenes Sein herstellen und in der Lage sind, sie herzustellen. Wir alle präsentieren uns so, wie wir wollen dass wir von anderen gesehen werden, aber jetzt gibt es eine Distanz und eine künstliche Intimität durch die Maschine.

Künstler stehen immer im Vordergrund von dem Ganzen, und ich bin irgendwie überrascht, dass es keine besseren Künstler-Websites gibt. Was würde Andy Warhol machen? Sie können wetten, dass er eine grossartige Website hätte und an allem aktiv beteiligt wäre, weil es billig und kraftvoll ist, und es eine grossartige Ausdrucksweise bietet.

Was haben Sie als Künstler gelernt? Was wäre hilfreich für aufstrebende Künstler?

1. Einen Zojirushi-Fuzzy-Logic-Reiskocher kaufen! Die Leute denken, ich scherze, wenn ich das sage, aber wenn du ein Künstler bist, musst du an deine Kunst denken. Und ein Reiskocher kocht für dich und stellt sicher, dass du billige, einfache Nahrung hast, damit du dich auf die Kunst konzentrieren kannst.

2. Die wichtigste Erfolgsregel lautet: Als erstes morgens Output vor Input. Schauen Sie NICHT zuerst auf Ihr Telefon. Schreiben Sie in Ihr Tagebuch, berühren Sie Ton, tanzen Sie. Wichtige E-Mails werden SIE finden. Donald Trumps neueste Gräueltat wird Sie finden. Das Telefon wird irgendwann klingeln. Verwenden Sie diese acht Stunden Ihres irrationalen Unterbewusstseins namens Träumen, um ungelöste Probleme vom Vortag zu lösen oder sich für kommende Probleme inspirieren zu lassen. Diese Zeit ist heilig. Das gilt für Künstler und Geschäftsleute. Ich denke, das gilt für alle.

Ausstellungshighlights

Danke fürs Lesen!

Andy_Signature

Mehr Info:

TOM SACHS – TIMELINE läuft bis zum 2. August

SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen

Eschenbrünnlestraße 15

71065 Sindelfingen | Deutschland

www.schauwerk-sindelfingen.de

 

“OUTPUT BEFORE INPUT – BUY A RICE COOKER.” INTERVIEW: TOM SACHS

An exhibition named “Timeline” by the American artist Tom Sachs is currently taking place at the SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen. The museum of contemporary art, only a few kilometers from Stuttgart, features a retrospective of the artist, the first major solo exhibition in Germany for over 15 years.  To learn more about the current retrospective as well as the artist’s work, an interview with Tom Sachs was conducted.

Tom Sachs Foto: Mario Sorrenti, © Tom Sachs
Tom Sachs Foto: Mario Sorrenti, © Tom Sachs

Tell me more about the show in Sindelfingen. How was this retrospective decided and organised. Which works does it include?

The title of my solo show at Schauwerk in Sindelfingen is “Timeline”, which is also the title of a piece I started in 2016 that tracks moments in my career and elements that have influenced me. Using Timeline, 2016—2019 as a reference point allowed us to include singular pieces like Chanel Guillotine and pieces from larger experiential works like Nutsy’s. The show features a room with our entire Tea Ceremony that just showed in Japan. And the scale of the Schauwerk space allowed me to debut World Trade Center for the first time.

When did you release you want to be an artist?

The key to ‘becoming’ an artist is to believe you are one. When I first moved to New York I believed I was an artist, but I couldn’t afford to make art all the time. I learned to weld in art school, so I took work as a non-union elevator repair man and that allowed me to do art 10% of my time. But that elevator repairs taught me a lot about work and that the reward for good work is more work. Even now that I am a full-time artist, on one day a year I take welding jobs and if you bring me something to weld on that day, I will do it.

What role does McDonald’s play in your artistic practice? And in
the works shown in Sindelfingen? Tell me more about it.

McDonald’s is a modern icon of culture and consumerism. I explored McDonald’s in the Nutsy’s show as the other side of the idealistic modernism represented by Le Corbusier’s 1952 Unit d’Habitation housing block. It was a massive 12-story structure that symbolises the integrity of modernism as well as its subsequent corruption.

Tell me more about your work Swiss Passport Office shown during Frieze 2018. How did this work evolve? What inspired you to make this work, have you ever been to Switzerland?

Swiss Passport Office, 2018 was about breaking down borders and eliminating the concept of nationality. Our liberal democracies are being threatened and people are being oppressed all over the world. So Swiss Passport Office represented a reprieve from artificial borders created by governments and the corporations who control them.
With Swiss Passport Office, every man and woman can be Swiss. I love Switzerland and I love its contradictions. I love the Swiss respect for nature and how orderly it is. But it’s also the place where bad guys stash their money.

Swiss Passport Office Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London October 5 - November 10, 2018
Desk 1 2018 Mixed media (customized tanker desk, chair with casters, chair without casters, file holder, lamp, type-writer, tape dispenser, security camera, clipboard holder, clipboards with pens) 205,7 x 123,2 x 76,5 cm (81 x 48.5 x 30.125 in) Swiss Passport Office Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London October 5 – November 10, 2018; Photo: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac / Tom Sachs

How do you deal with criticism?

Nobody loves criticism. Humor is one of the tools that I use and in my earlier work I was frustrated when people didn’t take the work seriously. I can’t imagine being any more serious than we are.  Hundreds of hours of work can go into a sculpture of a woodburning. However, I would remind the haters that no one ever got laid by boring
someone to death.

Has there been a turning point in your artistic practice so far? Is there something which influenced you in doing things a different way: using a different kind of material, in producing your artworks. And in your development as an artist.

Bricolage is my religion. Bricolage through sculpture. What I am inspired by is not newer, fancier materials. I am inspired to make things out of everyday items and show the hand of their making. In the studio we paint plywood white before we cut it so that you can see that it was cut. In my marquetry, which in traditional craft is meant to be seamless and not show the human hand, I leave the chips of wood. When I make porcelain chawans, you can see my fingerprints. There is evidence that says “I was here. This was made by human hands”. These systems have developed for me over time but they all stem from my relationship to Bricolage.

What are you currently working on?

Because of the quarantine in New York I have turned my basement in Queens into a workshop/studio and I have been spending most of my time there. I have been painting a lot and working on things for Space.

Program 4: Rare Earths which will be on view at the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg in Summer 2021.

What is the role that artists should play at a time like now?

Artists need to pay attention to the machine. It’s not going away. And everyone – you, me, Exxon Mobile, Donald Trump – we all have a TV channel made up of all of our social media and our website and whatever else. It is clear we’re making our own identities and being able to craft them. We all present ourselves in the way we want people to see us, but now that there is a distance and an artificial intimacy through the machine.

Artists are always at the front of this, and I’m actually kind of surprised there aren’t better artist websites. What would Andy Warhol do? You could bet he’d have a great website, and he’d be involved in everything, and doing it like crazy because it’s cheap and it’s powerful and it’s a great mode of expression.

What is something you have learned, as a growing artist, that would be helpful to aspiring artists?

  1. Buy a Zojirushi fuzzy logic rice cooker! People think I’m kidding when I say this but when you are an artist you have to think about your art. And a rice cooker does your cooking for you and makes sure that you have cheap, easy sustenance so you
    can focus on your art.
  2. The most important rule of success is: first thing in the morning, output before input. DO NOT look at your phone first thing. Write in your journal, touch clay, dance. Important emails will find you. Donald Trump’s latest atrocity will find you. The phone will ring eventually. Use that eight hours of your irrational, subconscious mind called dreaming to solve the unsolved problems from the day before or inspire you for the next. Those minutes are sacred. That’s true for artists and businessmen. promote it in an exhibition, it dies on the vine. I think that’s true of anything.

Exhibition highlights

Thanks for reading!

Andy_Signature

More information:

TOM SACHS – TIMELINE runs until August 2.

SCHAUWERK Sindelfingen

Eschenbrünnlestraße 15

71065 Sindelfingen | Germany

www.schauwerk-sindelfingen.de

ABORIGINAL ART EXPEDITION IN THE SWISS ALPS: INTERVIEW WITH BÉRENGÈRE PRIMAT

Recently, Andy meets Warhol visited Fondation OPALE, the only foundation dedicated to Aboriginal Art in Europe, located in Lens, Valais Switzerland. The current show Resonances, as well as an interview with founder Bérengère Primat aim to shed more light on the topic of Aboriginal Art and founding and running an art foundation.

Tell me about Fondation OPALE, how did you start the foundation, why Lens and Valais? Why did you choose this location and building?

In 2018, the previous foundation located in our spectacular building encountered financial difficulties and had to close. Their last exhibition Country of the Dreaming already showed a selection of my contemporary Australian Indigenous art collection.

Eventually, and after talking to friends who are Aboriginal artists and my children, who all supported the idea, I decided to take over the place and created Fondation Opale to show the best of their art in Europe.

What is your earliest memory of art? How did you come across Aboriginal Art? What was the first Aboriginal artwork you bought?

I was very lucky to be raised in a family of art lovers. Not only the art created by humans but also the one created by nature.

My first encounter with Australian Indigenous art was in Paris in 2002, in a gallery where my « future ex husband » showed art realised by Aboriginal men in an exhibition named Wati, the Law men. A couple of months later, I was in Alice Springs, sitting with and listening to the artists and their families.

My first purchase was a work on bark from Arnhem Land by Jack Larrangai and a Rainbow Snake by Mick Namarari (Central desert)

Do you have a specific inspiring moment or meeting with Aboriginal artists you could share? Have you visited any ceremonies or performances or artist working in their studio? Is there something as Aboriginal performance art?

Every moment spent in remote Indigenous communities is inspiring… Very different from my speedy and stressful European life…! As in most desert regions, everything is quite slow, time has a different dimension. Every sentence or gesture, another meaning.

Aboriginal Art could also be seen as a performance, every painting is sung and danced either during its creation or once finished. Paintings are visual representation of poems sung and transmitted for thousands of years.

There are also remarkable young artists such as the Bangarra Dance Theatre, performing dance technique forged from over 65,000 years of culture, embodied with contemporary movement.

How does Fondation Opale aim to interact with the local community in Lens; how you think the works on display can relate and communicate with local Swiss customs and art?

The Fondation has an important role to play in the cultural diversity offered to the residents and visitors of the Valais region, and beyond. To our local community, we offer not only a public program made of creative workshops, themed visits, artist talks, concerts, etc., but also a friendly environment to meet up and have a taste of local food and wines.

There is a similitude in the way Indigenous peoples and the local population relate themselves to their territory: with respect and pride. These values, inherent in Australian Indigenous art, resonate in striking relevance with todays questioning about mitigation and adaptation to climate change, particularly important in the Alpine region we live in.

How do you find new artists, galleries or dealers dealing with Aboriginal Art? How about buying directly from artists? How do you ensure that fair trade and ethical principles are at work, especially benefitting the artist?

I travel to Australia at least once a year to meet with the artists and their families in their communities. As I have a long lasting relationship with many art centres, I usually buy directly from them. Those art centres, situated in remote Indigenous communities, are Aboriginal owned and operated not-for-profit corporations; their general purpose is to build and promote artistic endeavour, support cultural practices and work towards the economic advancement of Aboriginal people through the production, preservation, promotion and sale of their artworks.

It is very important, or even essential, to check that the artwork you want to acquire has a certificate from one of those art centres. Its a real guarantee of ethical principles as the provenance of the work is still a big concern today.

“Aboriginal art could also be seen as a performance, every painting is sung and danced either during its creation or once finished. Paintings are visual representation of poems sung and transmitted for thousands of years.” – Bérengère Primat

How important is it for you to meet the artist behind the artwork?

I always try to meet the artist if possible. I also commission works and the relationship, mutual respect and understanding of their stories (Dreamings) is necessary.

Has digitalisation changed the way you collect art?

Not really. Digitalisation was already common when I started the collection. I do sometimes buy works I have only seen on pictures but only if I know the artist.

Name three art institutions with or without Aboriginal Art you enjoy going back to.

Amongst my favourite art institutions, I can place the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, where they exhibited Mapa Wiya, your map is not needed last year. Fondation Beyeler in Basel (built by Renzo Piano, same as the Menil) and the Barbier-Mueller museum in the old town of Geneva.

What are you currently working on and what would you like to implement in the near future in regard to the Foundation; do you offer an artist-in-residence programme?

While we are working on our next exhibitions in situ and also in other venues (Brussels, Marrakech…), were also working with architects on a new building to host a media library, an auditorium and the recently received archives of Mr Bernhard Lüthi, a Swiss artist, activist and curator (a selection of these documents is currently exhibited at the 2020 Sydney Biennale).

We had our first artist in residence last winter, Walala Tjapaltjarri, who spent 3 weeks with us. 

What is the meaning of life? Is there an artwork in the Fondation which especially reflects your meaning of life?

A rather simple way to answer this, is to talk about circularity, transmission and cycles. In Resonances, there is an artwork from Mick Kubarkku named Dird Djang (Moon Dreaming), 2000, which is related to this subject. In local mythology, the moon is associated with the concept of mortality, rebirth as demonstrated by the waxing and waning of the moon each lunar month.

MickKubarkku_DirdDjang_RêveLune_c_Vincent Girier-Dufournier
Mick Kubarkku – Dird Djang (Moon Dreaming), 2000 ©️Vincent Girier Dufournier

What advice can you give to someone wanting to collect Aboriginal Art?

Please make sure that your artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity by one of the art centres. Otherwise you cannot be sure that the artist has not been pressured, in any way, to create or sell the artwork through questionable channels that are, unfortunately, still existing today. Moreover, this will guarantee that your purchase is not a fake.

What advice can you give to someone wanting to establish a foundation?

When you establish a foundation you have to think long-term. It’s not a “selfish” desire, it is unavoidably time-consuming and the biggest challenge is to ensure the financial revenue for several decades to keep it alive.

Georges Petitjean, your restaurateur and consultant: where did you two meet and how did the cooperation begin?

We first met in 2005, at the Tinguely Museum in Basel, during a retrospective exhibition named Rarrk where John Mawurndjul was celebrated for his mastery of said rarrk (fine-painted cross-hatching).

From 2005 to 2017, Georges Petitjean was curator of the Aboriginal Art Museum in Utrecht (AAMU) in the Netherlands, and he often asked me to lend works from my collection for his exhibitions. In 2017, we began our current collaboration with the exhibition Country of the Dreaming.

If you could commission an Aboriginal artist to create a monument to sit in some Swiss landmark, what artist would you commission and who would or what would you commission them to sculpt?

Good question… Unlike painting, sculpture is not a prominent means of expression in the contemporary Aboriginal art scene (except for younger „urban artists “, who use all sorts of media and new media). Rather than a commission, I would say that an iteration of Gulumbu Yunupingu’s memorial poles, which in our current exhibition echo the Red Lights by American artist Kiki Smith, would be a great symbol. In her works, the late artist and women’s leader from the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land expresses the unity in the diversity of humankind, which she beautifully compares to the stars.

What is your vision for the Fondation Opale?

As mentioned earlier, it is a long-term one. Fondation Opale is a platform, or springboard for Australian Indigenous artists in Europe. I truly believe in the mutual benefits of this exchange, as it enables local and European audiences to discover and engage with a contemporary art movement rooted in the oldest continuous culture on the planet, which is not only visually exquisite, but also carries essential messages. Art is a powerful catalyst for dialogue between people and cultures.

Highlights from Fondation OPALE

Pictures by Andy Hermann.

Thanks for reading!

Andy_Signature

More information:

RESONANCES runs from June 14, 2020 to April 4, 2021.

Fondation Opale

Route de Crans 1

1978 Lens, Switzerland

www.fondationopale.ch

 

 

 

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