- When did you start painting/drawing?
I started to make drawings in 2009/2010. Before that I had been working rather on time consuming objects but I felt a need for a new and much faster work flow.
I felt stuck both artistically and intellectually. Drawing emerged as an antidote. Those were also years when I travelled a lot and the practice of drawing was a chance to travel light. Usually only equipped with a sketchbook and pencils almost like a writer whose freedom I have always envied. Making drawings in this way allowed me to shrug off this sense of immobility: I felt no longer tied down to working in a studio.
Declaring place and time in those sketchbooks was important to me right from the beginning because I could retrace where and how something had started; where and how an idea originated. At the end of 2010 I started to transfer this chronological principle to single sheets of paper and this process evolved into the series that by now results in more than 2000 individual works.
- Do you use other mediums?
No, I only concentrate on my drawings. Differentiation in my practice are only applied in the materials I use for my drawings, varying from graphite, coloring pencil or water color or indeed spray paint.
- You told me you have been producing more than 300 paintings in the last year, so it is approximately a painting per day. What is your driving force behind this remarkable amount of work?
It was by drawing in sketchbooks that I developed this way of strict working. Every day one drawing, which has become my daily norm. Sometimes I am not able to commit to my daily drawing routine because I am an avid cyclist and go on bike tours for example across the Alps.
During those cycling trips, it is all about my commitment to those physical endurance and naturally I am not working on my drawings. But when I come back I have to catch up on lost time so I have to make up those missing drawings. It is about creating the right balance for me so I do not feel overstretched but I equally create a kind of ‘false’ pressure for myself.
The effect is crucial: You have to go to work in the studio every day regardless of how you feel or how motivated you are. And that's the point: only when you do something every day you get a result. The best things often occur casually. So if you don't work every day, there can be nothing incidental. It is this coincidence that often gets confused with ingeniousness.
- You also mentioned the connection of your work to bureaucratic practices and as a sort of necessary daily mission. Can you tell me about these associations and reflections?
In my experience having routines saves us a lot of energy. Our daily lives are filled with routines. We don't need to think much and just get things done - get up, have a shower, have breakfast, brush your teeth. We learn this early on in our childhood.
I am using this principle for my own working method. My own work is alive because of its repetitions. For more than six years I have not changed neither format nor media. I like to get up, have a cup of coffee and immediately start working in my sketchbook.
Only after this initial sketching process I will have breakfast and then cycle to my studio regardless of my mood or what happened the night before. Things invariably happen in the same way and this does not result in force but rather creates freedom.
I don't have to think about the meaning of it all, I just do it. It can be understood as an aid, which stops me to ponder and procrastinate. But it's all about action and not about inertia.
The process of drawing to me is a kind of fragmented act within a greater context of the series. It is a moment of calmness and concentration. Although I do ask myself at times: What an insufferable boring life can one lead? But it can't be helped. Maybe a little bit like in „Paterson“by Jim Jarmusch.
Regarding the systematic or bureaucratic element in my work, that might be a little misleading. I use the same stamp to number each individual drawing to enlist the place of creation and also the caption remains the same which enables a sense of orientation.
Firstly it helps me to find each individual sheet and secondly it helps to comprehend its genesis. So on one level it functions for very practical reasons and on another level the elements demonstrate the archival character of my works.
An archival character that any art for instance in museums or collections can glide into. Julia Fertig wrote an interesting article regarding this topic in relation to my drawing series „AEIOU“.
- How would you define harmony and balance?
Balance is fine but harmony is boring but one is not free of either of them. I like it when a low sound appears as if someone is saying something in an indistinct voice and it is this undertone that cuts through harmony. I like Moondog.