This week we connected Tim Hollander to Puck Schot and Puck to Tim. They answered each others questions about make up tutorials and childhood hero’s.
Is your art ever confessional?
Confessional feels like a big word that I wouldn’t easily use myself, but when it comes to sharing certain parts of my private self than in some cases it is. This mostly happens in my writing though, where I allow much more personal ideas to influence my work. Perhaps it’s because when I’m writing, I’m doing so from a much more private space – in both a physical and a mental sense.
Oftentimes when private elements enter my work, they might not be the first layer that others might encounter when seeing the work. Personal thoughts often seep into the corners or joints of my work and are not easily spotted. Other pieces are, to me, full of very personal ideas, yet for others those ideas might not be so easily spotted.
Like the book ‘The Lazy Artist and Other Stories’ that I made during a residency at the Jan van Eyck academy. To some people the book might be full of joy and color, but to me it’s also tied to a very difficult time in my life and making the book was one way of dealing with that.
Do you have a childhood hero that influenced you to start making art?
Hm, I can’t really say that I have. When I was growing up my parents never really engaged with a lot of culture. They hardly ever listened to music, we never went to any art museums. No poetry, no arthouse films. So, I guess I’m like a teenager rebelling against their own parents, as both art and music play very important roles in my life now. Although it took me a lot longer to realize that I found art actually interesting.
One of the only music-related memories I have from my childhood is related to an Enya album they had on cd. Or I think they had it on cd. These were the ’90s so it’s very well possible they had an Enya album. I don’t even know if they listened to it very often. So yeah, childhood hero.
Has an art piece ever opened your eyes or changed your mind completely about something?
I think there have definitely been artworks (or books, for that matter) that have changed my mind, or have given me insights in topics I knew almost nothing about. Or pieces that very much changed my idea about certain mediums, or what a performance could be. But completely changing my mind, I don’t think so, or at least not that I can remember.
In a way your question reminds me of a teacher in my second year of art academy, who asked the class if they had ever experienced an artwork that made them cry, as he saw this as the ultimate experience of art. Back then, I hadn’t experienced any of those transformative art experiences he spoke of and I felt a bit like an imposter. Now I’m just happy there’s so many different types of art that people can experience on so many different levels and in some cases, even change people or communities for the better.
If you would approach your art practice as a make-up / skincare tutorial, how would you introduce the favorite step in your process, and how would you recommend applying it?
At the moment I actually love getting chemical peels, although I’m not sure how good it is for your face. In short; by having a chemical peel applied, dead skin cells are removed which stimulates the skin to produce new skin cells.
This fictive peeling element fits my creative process. I like to see the production of my art as a burn on the surface. Scraping through things that are hidden from the eye. For example by peeling through topics that are tabooed or by subjecting myself. The goal is to examine the dying elements of the surface and to explore it as an acidic proces. Although it can existentially itch and burn at times, this is where I have the most fun.
Then at the end, you take some time to think – apply a cold compress to reduce the swelling. Some can be left red-toned in their face for a while, others may not be affected. The conversation that one can have about the absurdity of it all is the most important part. I hope people feel renewed by the treatment.
How do you balance your personal, social and artistic interest? E.g. if you run into topics that you find important on a personal or political level, do you deal with those topics through your work, or are those realms somewhat separated?
My work has always contained something confessional and autobiographical. Yet, there are also topics I simply like to do research upon and finally combine this with my confessional poetry. Even though my art has always been quite personal, I used to attempt to separate the personal from the political. I’ve almost always hired actors to perform texts on camera, used alter egos as a context for my writing and did a performance wherein I was sensorially deprived, therefore almost physically absent. Although I still love this way of “Othering“: sublimizing personal aspects to alienate, I only recently started to realize I could also use my voice directly, becoming the subject myself, which is still partly fictive and pretty anxiety-inducing.
I am quoting Amalia Ulman here, who once staged her own mental breakdown on Instagram as an art piece: “When you repeat a lie, it becomes a truth, and a fake truth generated by images has more validity than a verbalized, genuine truth” and “In this world, where everything is fiction, the best story wins”, creating her work as a stage for an identity of her. Even though one can brutally become the center of one’s own practice, the transformative power of art always influences “truth”.
Amalia Ulman ‘Dignity’
What’s the importance of titles (and their extension: lists of materials) to you and what song or book title would sit perfectly between your own titles?
Titles are an important finish to a work of art, writing or music: the title can change the whole mood or meaning. My iPhone notepad is full of random thoughts and words I have read somewhere. These words typically sound like they carry something physical or a sense of destruction, such as the verb ‘to wince’.
My work often explores the relation between desire and violence, I like to reflect on this relation by using “Hauntologies“.An example is “An Inflamed Appeal (all the world may not love a lover)”, when I hired a porn studio to perform a script composed of fortune cookie quotes. I used a fortune cookie text excerpt as a subtitle.
I would say someone who is highly inspiring to me is Ed Atkins – not necessarily his titles, but his fragmented exploration of writing, attempting to let go of linearity and manically expressing emotive words in-between descriptive phrases of surroundings. This is something I like to do with titles, to give a short, yet intense prologue of a scene or emotion. Atkins’ works always leaves me feeling as if I had witnessed something so intimate, yet absolutely detrimental. For example this excerpt from his script of ‘Us Dead Talk Love’:
“bedded down beneath the foreskin, awake to that sensitive ground.
Like an implement of dowsing.
Blackened, dead dermis as incisive, essential, esoteric.
As fucking deadly: there under the foreskin, clinging to the glans like some missing, nascent grapheme.
In the way a fossil is impossibly lost.
That crippled, ammonite curve of
macara’d spines, smashed
These interviews are part of an ongoing series of short interviews between Unfair artists, originally published through our mailings. Check the overview to read the other interviews or subscribe to our mailing list through the button below: