Hi Fabian, thanks for coming, glad to see you on 2chairs. Could you please start with a story how you have come to the art? What is your first chair about?
Hi Lena. Thanks for the invitation.
My journey to the art was rather twisted. The beginnings can probably be found in my childhood. I was very interested in all kinds of crafts and spent most of my free time working with wood, concrete and paint. But at that time it did not occur to me that the stuff I was doing had any connection to art. I only found out about that many years later.
In my family security is very important. And so it was more or less unthinkable for me to choose an uncertain profession like art or even any other creative profession. I wanted to do something "proper". At the end of high-school I decided to study law. I went through 7 years of university and the following practical law-training. It was not always fun, I can tell you that. After that I was working for another 7 years as an attorney for major law-firms in Berlin. My speciality was litigation on the plaintiff side. This means more or less bringing large corporations to court for their wrongdoings. In some of these cases hundreds of millions of euros where at stake. It was a lot of pressure, but also a thrilling experience – at least sometimes.
Although I was successful in my job, I became increasingly unhappy. Something was missing. In my free time I was trying out a lot of different things. I was doing many craft works in my apartment, I volunteered as a bartender and helped organising art-projects. I even started setting up a little business. That was all very nice, but it was still not what I was looking for.
Things changed completely in 2017 when the long-lasting relationship with my girlfriend came to an end. This event acted like a catalyst. I spent a lot of time walking around the streets, thinking and feeling into myself, trying to find out what I wanted for my future. One evening I spoke with a very good friend about these things. I told him about the craftwork I did when I was a kid and also that I would like to do more work with my hands. Then he suddenly said: "Maybe it is art what you want to do." I disagreed with him in that moment, but something had made "click". A few days later I realised that he was right.
Wow, it's really inspiring. Do you see how your background reflects into your artistic practice? What is your concern as an artist?
I have dedicated more than a decade of my life to a certain profession and that of course shaped my personality. As a lawyer you learn to address problems in a very analytical way. You tear apart a complex situation and create nice little subsets. Everything is structured in a very logical way. That can be a powerful tool. But it also comes with a downside. It is a rather unemotional and cold way of looking at human beings and their concerns.
In my art I try to integrate my background, but I also consciously work against it. That is why I use a lot of intuitive elements. I do not figure out a concept sitting at my desk with a computer or an empty piece of paper. Instead, I begin with a haptic process. I have to work with the material.
My current work for example is about the concepts of confinement, prison and punishment. It all started with a board of wood on which I randomly casted plaster. In the beginning I had no idea where this was going. But after one day of work certain shapes appeared. My hands were building circular walls around empty spaces. Suddenly I felt that these spaces are cells, and I associated them with confinement. That immediately brought up feelings like solitude, isolation, despair and so on and so forth.
Once I have established the emotional network, I switch to an analytical perspective. I make a thorough research of the topic. This is where my background as a lawyer is useful. But I also try to look into other fields like Psychology, Philosophy, Biology...