A decorator of my work
Interview with Theresa Reusch
What is meant by the term “contemporary”? Are you a contemporary artist?
The term is quite empty, I think. It is simply used too often and is therefore not clearly defined. Maybe it helps others as a guide in the art scene – I don’t put too much thought into definitions like this.
What influences you? Are there fundamental themes in your work? What are your materials?
In the exhibition I used furniture panels from the hardware store. At first glance these are a plain material far removed from the arts, which appear to be functional. On closer inspection, it becomes apparent that the simple convenience associated with them is only partially fulfilled. What I’m interested in are the connections between artisanal and artistic qualities, the applied and fine arts, if these terms can still be differentiated.
Much of what I do, I give away to be produced by someone else. Other things are readymade. I often work with objects from my uncle’s estate, some of which are vintage, but I also use things that have been bought new. The objects and materials are always somehow connected to my personal history. On the whole though, I’m less interested in the readymade as such than in the interaction of the individual objects. Instead, I’m tempted to find a whole arrangement that works and gives things a new identity. I prefer to see myself as a decorator of my work rather than as an artist – that’s a role I struggle with somewhat.
Are there other artists you are close to?
On the whole, I’m less interested in individual artists than in a few specific works by artists, e.g. Carlo Mollino’s works.
Is materiality now immaterial? How has increasing digitalisation influenced your work and the exhibition? Is it incorporated into your work and how?
I find that online documentation really completes an exhibition. The moment that a work is no longer only physically in front of me, a whole new way of viewing it opens up – I find that very exciting. I’ve often renegotiated the documentation of a work and let this flow into subsequent works. Basically, the works reference each other and everything grows together, regardless of whether it’s material or immaterial.
Do you consider the possible political implications of your work? Are you a political person?
No. Not consciously. If there is a political aspect then it’s by no means intended. On a personal level I’m a very political person, if there is such a thing!? But I find political art terribly uninspiring.
How do you define sculpture today?
I see sculpture as increasingly virtual – and I don’t just mean in the digital sense. I like e.g. the idea of making the absence of objects visible. Or perhaps the moment in which volume and body become conceivable without really being present.
Cologne, February 2017
Interview by Tom Lingnau, Translation by Joanne Moar