The first impression of Andy Denzler’s paintings is a weird optical effect, like staring at a photo with something wrong.
“My paintings emphasize the relation between the human nature and figure accentuating the human existence as surface existence.”
It seems that all his painted characters are struggling to move, to escape, to finish what they meant to do when captured on the canvas. All these freezing movements create a sentimental and melancholic world, where every single character – laying down, watching out the window, waiting for something – is ready to tell us his story.
Why did you start painting?
When I was sixteen I was documenting original works by Warhol, Basquiat and Schnabel for Bischofberger Gallery. In 1981 few had heard of Basquiat.
I could not understand what he was doing… it irritated and fascinated me at the same time.
How do your works come out, literally? There’s a photo as starting point, then manipulated?
Mostly I paint conceptually for a certain project or show. It can be a social theme or from everyday live. I’m starting with a topic and do some research or use my own film and photography or polaroids. This raw material looks already like a painting.
What are your works talking about?
It’s about aesthetics and the refined sensual pleasure that “painting” as a generality has to offer. There is no difference if I’m de-composing the landscape of nature or human figure as portrait. My paintings emphasize the relation between the human nature and figure accentuating the human existence as surface existence.
Something’s changed in your latest work?
There is always a progression in my work. Standstill and movement is part of my work like a paused vhs tape.
All about the characters is left to the imagination, but do you know their story? Who they are? Movie characters or real people?
The characters in my work are mostly friends or people I know. I am not really after a narrative. As much as I am concerned with movement, I prefer to be suggestive at most, implying only a mood or feeling.
Any type of moralizing or story telling is intended to be frozen, inert, non-revealing to the viewer.
I am generally after an expressive documentation of situations plausible enough, but aloof and distanced, in which the viewer must not be distracted with narrative, and where he may engage rather in expression, material and execution of the work.
In your painting there’s a lot of photography, can we say that? How do they live together in your work?
It was never a question of those two art forms. I’m a painter interested in the process of painting, creating the object of desire.
Do you feel pop?
Warhol is omnipresent and the most influential postmodern artist.
Have you got reference artists?
There are so many old masters like Velasquez, Goya or Tizian I appreciate. It’s impossible to describe, not even with a thousand words.
I believe that what surrounds us tells the truth, so how is your studio?
When visitors come to my studio, they feel immediately comfortable. The interior is important for my work. I’m using the studio as a stage for my compositions.
THE LAUNDRY ROOM
Of what are you prouder of yourself?
Pride and arrogance are very close. I would not say I’m proud, more like being dissatisfied, and thriving to become more successful.
What would you have been, if not an artist?
If you’d have to pack your life to move away, just with your most beloved stuff, which of your paintings would you carry with you?
The first one and the last unfinished piece.
What’s on your desk?
Magazines, books, a very cool calculator and the computer I’m writing the interview on!
Three adjectives to describe yourself.
Passionate, disciplined and different.
A city to describe yourself.
In the middle of Barcelona and Berlin.
A movie to laugh.
A movie to cry.
The Girl from Ipanema.
The happiest day in your life.
Every day I can go to my studio.
The mistake you would be proud to repeat.
Every painting mistake I re-use in my recent work.
A secret wish.
Painting a historical masterpiece
To follow Andy Denzler, www.andydenzler.com
Interviewed on October 23rd 2012, original version in English.