Interview with Joseph Marcelle


1. How would you describe your practice as it has been described as being built on Neo-Dada, Fluxus and Pop Art and going back and forth between minimal and conceptual with a touch of irony and detachment?
But yet I would rather feel at home considering myself as a baroque person of ideas and methods.
Irony sounds superficial but on the contrary presumes a deep sincerity in the artist.
Please let me describe our irony as a well-oiled ready to use tool shed from the 80s, and please presume that we know that "Irony is not the hottest shit anymore".

2. Where do you find inspiration for your artistic practice?  
Are you inspired by any other artists?
Actually we do not look so much for inspiration, we look for new methods and new means to produce art, as we successfully did with Kim Kim Gallery, those things are often found in domains parallel to art, like economy, architecture and literature. Gregory for example is deeply inspired by the works of Phillip K. Dick. Me I am deeply inspired by survival strategies literature, like the SAS Survival handbooks, but that is not directly readable in our art, as we use transfer to apply things we learn from another domain.
As for inspiration by other artists, we would prefer to call it admiration.
We have a deep admiration for the works of many artist, giants on whose shoulders we stand: Robert Filliou, Nam-june Paik, Phillip K. Dick, Konrad Zuse, Ingmar Bergmann, and Michael Jackson to name just a few. 

3. How does your work go from idea to object?
Please describe your process and choice of materials as you often use found objects in your work.
That´s a tall order but worth exploring. Actually we do not try to choose the material so much.
One material is as good as another,  if they fit our methods of production (and the ramification of the physical world does leave us less choice than one might think).
But as for a more curious and more specific example, we get a lot of inspiration out of a let´s call it "personality-material" like David Hasselhoff or/and Sponge Bob Squarepants, which easily spin off whole installations.
Found objects as in ready-made we seldom and if we do use them at all, use carefully, in order not to provoke inflation, and even those only seem to be objets trouvé but are most often not, we prefer to call them hand-made ready-mades.
Our latest pure Ready-Made which comes to my mind is a pair of Michael Air Jordan Pump produced by Nike, a special edition Size 50 (EU), we found in an outlet store.

4. Since 2004, you have worked closely with German artist Gregory Maass.  
How did this come about?  How does your collaboration work?
Please let me quote from "It All. Indefinite Article." by Clemens Krümmel.
Who expressed it better than I ever could. "Those who ask in such a way usually only want to know how the roles are divided, or how the question of power is clarified or left unclarifed. Perhaps works by more than one person are always suspect, for despite deconstructionist debates the picture with singular authorship is still extremely valued, especially when it comes to auction bids, paying, and creating value. But also when due to the abdication of technical virtuosity as an argument in recent decades, the generation of artistic ideas has supposed to be authenticated by way of the individual (and his or her breaks, failure, and gaps in consciousness), at issue are not only questions of copyright, but speculations about genius as a psychical competence that remains unfocused in the framework of mutual inspiration. Double or multiple authorship can sometimes only be reinstalled by evoking the modern kitsch phrase of the “fusion” of the opposition between art and life or this or that culture, if not as a neo-liberal catchphrase of mutual in-sourcing. There’s always something difficult to grasp about production couples, on several levels, difficult to uncover in their works. Already here, in the case of Nayoungim & Gregory Maass a kind of law of the always absent second goes in force. "
You may find the full text in our upcoming book "Unfucking Real" or at:

5. Your work has been described as anti-aesthetic and kitsch.
Do your wish your art to deliver some sort of message to its viewers?  If so, what?
Art is generally not the right medium for messages, that´s a common mis-believe which seems very hard to get out of peoples minds, art is a container for ideas and emotions.

6. Your Busan Snowman work was installed on the top of a building in a lower-middle class neighborhood and was considered a gift to the people of Busan who rarely experience snow due to its warm climate. 
Everybody likes snowmen. The snowman is a proto-sculpture, and a very fundamental form of anthropocentric representation. Curiously it is made of snow, a very ephemeral material but readily available in abundance in regions with moderate to colder climate.
As for the special case of  "Busan Snowman" is quite temperature resistant, we had a corrosive reasons to paint it in a dull white recently, the ideal was a mirroring, caustic snowman, but someone, somewhere in the production line skimmed money and build it in a material which turned rusty after the first rain drops.
But anyway ... as our art is often about adaptation, we feel at ease with the changing nature of the work.
"Busan Snowman" is not our first stint in this field, we already built a "Florida Snowman" out of blankets and Bread for our "2-million years of art" exhibition in Switzerland a few years back.

Do you think that art has the ability to change society and mankind?
Yes, there are great examples in recent history for it.
The invention of the first fully functioning Computer by Konrad Zuse (on the living room table of his parents and I guess much to their delight), Joseph Beuys´ invention of the Fat Corner, Nam June Paik´s invention and application of the first Video Synthesizer, Michael Jackson´s invention of the moon-walk, these are artistic singularities which changes the way the world works.
But it´s not in our immediate interest to change society and mankind, we are quite reluctant to use these big terms. We think more in plump down to earth terms like: How much does it cost?, and Who cares?.

7. You have lived between Seoul, Korea and Hagen, Germany for several years.
I took the liberty to rephrase this question:
I have lived between Korea and many places in Europe.

Do you think that your country has affected the way you create your own art?
Or are you a diaspora artist who is more affected by the stimuli in Europe?
I would not call it "Country", my surrounding evidently shapes the way I perceive things, that´s the same for everybody. As for diaspora, me and Gregory are famous for having a strong dislike for any form of political paraphrasing, I think that´s a very political statement.
We consider ourselves inhabitants of the planet earth and we feel home wherever we put our head to sleep, preferably on a clean pillow.

8. You've been living as an artist for all of your adult life.  
What does art mean to you? 
I guess it means that I have the luxury and the means to express and contain my emotions and ideas successfully.

June 2012

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