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Andreas Templin

| Interview with Andreas Templin |

You are now showing work at Beijing Today Art Museum. What is the piece about?
The video work, ‘the 20th Century on visit in the 21st’ is currently part of the World One Minutes exhibition that opened June 7th and will be on view till June 28th. This video work was produced in 2002, is nearly a video still, and deals in a metaphorical way with the judgment and perception of safety, which has rapidly been changing since 2001.
Transforming the imagined Angst (the feeling that suspends any sense of rationality or analysis) and states of alertness into the image of a small shivering dog blown up to huge dimensions forces different spontaneous reactions from laughter to sympathy or the wish to protect that small angstfull dog given within us. The title is interplaying the depressing facts of an ended Century of catastrophes soberly ending the sentimental hopes and desires that were brought up towards the new Millennium Those were replaced by new mayor points of global crisis. When the World One Minutes Foundation informed me about the plans to exhibit this work in the context of Pre Olympic Beijing, I was initially delighted, but expected it to be inappropriate in the eyes of the censoring authorities as the exhibition is part of the official cultural programe for the Olympic Games of the City of Beijing. In total 38 works were ecxluded by the censorship, which also evoked a discussion surrounding this exhibition leading to a public debate at De Balie Amsterdam. I interpret the acceptance of the video work as all the old, mainly politically derived reflexes obviously do not seem to be the main criteria of judging an artwork any more. The formerly enforced mantra of anticipating a positive future, still enforced as state-ideology in countries like White-Russia, does not seem to form the main verdict of Chinese politics, which in my opinion gives chance and creates room for a dialogue with the next superpower


You are working in different directions and different media, how would you describe yourself? Which are the ideas and the concepts underlying your work?
My work is often built around mainstream idioms- formally, visually and contextually. It is acting from a post-productive atmosphere of art-production and attempts on impulsive use of wide ranging styles and gestures.
Taking a creative-direction approach which implements all media and ways of expression (by principle) and is rather guided by a critical idea-based process with a rhetorical ending embedded in the finished artwork/ exhibition seems to me very interesting. It is, from a formal point of view in some tradition with conceptual art, but is also nurtured from “the idea of the perfect surface” as well as irony and humor becoming weapons in the artistic process.

I am trying, in my work, to grasp into the domains of schizoidity, doubleness and irrationality, the shuffles and interplays these domains are able to stage, accompanied by a doubtfulness about methods and approaches that attempt to be very canonical by means of formal or contextual issues.
In traditional means, the rhetorical issues have come to a dissociative end as we all know and experience. That, for instance there is always the possibility to swap sides by means of interpreting and re-interpreting facts in a discourse is a strange development.
This is of course influencing the discourse happening in the visual arts as well.

As I do not see the necessity for a work of art to take sides I “treat the content democratically: there is a matter of interpretation, but the implemented domains are not being directed to a certain outcome – to reformulate issues from and out of an artistic viewpoint in the sense of a democratic blueprint is my foremost intention.
I believed till last year, that it makes sense to create artworks that deal head-on and confrontational with political issues: Putting the finger in the wound by pointing as directly as possible to injustice, madness, schizoid, doubleness and irrationality. Further I thought, that the attempt of finding the most direct translation of philosophical truth into an artwork would actually help that truth along, make the difficulties of the situation visible. Then I recognized, that this kind of work is just part of a consumption of art as spectacle, which resulted in the intervention HELL IS COMING / WORLD ENDS TODAY at Madrid Abierto 2008.

photo by Felix Broede Photography

I was fascinated by the idea of Bach’s music been casually whistled and giving a new interpretation to music that has been played many times before.
Can you explain what brought you to create this vinyl-record with music of Johann Sebastian Bach and entirely whistled?

Listen to Andreas Templin plays Bach

After the massive intervention ‘HELL IS COMING / WORLD ENDS TODAY’ in Madrid I had the strong desire to do an utmost calm artwork, preferably one I could do alone. I decided to record a vinyl-album with music by Johann Sebastian Bach, which I entirely whistled. I chose whistling, because I didn’t want to have any instrument between the music and me. The album was recorded in the red-light-district of Amsterdam in the studio of Eric von Robertson. The recordings initially started in a sound-studio, but after a few days working in the studio I recognized, that it is impossible to record a whistled Bach-album there: The clean and far too clear sound paired with the isolation in the sound-cabin turned out to be completely wrong. The setting of Eric’s studio, situated on the 1st floor of a small alley in the middle of the district-district, unfolding a 24/7 Naples-kind of sound scope, turned out to be perfect for that recording.
It was lucky to work with the curator Ingken Wagner, who produced the album. She encouraged me, when it looked like the production got stuck or certain pieces turned out to be impossible to whistle. The recording of such a whistled album, listening to Bach 24/7, rehearsing and record over and over, was a tough experience. To get to the points where you technical skills begin to glide in the background and you find to your own expression is a long and frustrating process which I did not experience working as a visual artist for many years. In fact it was almost ten years passed since I was running rehearsals and guiding myself through a musical process. Now I remembered the painful process of sneaking around the grand piano half day, the other half trying to get the results I wanted out of it, one day succeeding gloriously, next day being a monkey trying to play piano.
I like Bach mixed with this Naples-kind street sounds, clients negotiating prices with the prostitutes, Glockenspiel from the nearby Oude Kerk, people singing, shouting. In this way, by whistling and mixing Bach with the street-sounds (something that I would actually love to hear myself walking in the streets) and presenting the outcome of this Bach that I like to hear in that way, is an act of freeing and dissolving the relationship with the classical interpretations of that music and, by this, dragging it towards me. It is the opposite of the power play happening in classical music. Instead of an opening, there will be a record release-party in Berlin and Vienna planned for beginning September, on which I am going to DJ classical music and introduce the album.

Any upcoming project you would like to share with us?
Next to this, I am currently working on new project with Andreas L. Hofbauer, which is basically a filmed travel, a solo-exhibition in beginning of 2009, a book and many others.

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