For me as an artist, certainty and vision go together – at the beginning of every new project they’re at the heart of the matter, so to speak. Sometimes you wait a while until you have a feeling of certainty about what you’re starting. But another part of this is the vision of what is possible to begin with. Which is to say there is a vision for the meaning of the work: first you delineate the subject or maybe you’ve already known for a while that you want to address it, but not how to go about it. And then there are different methods to get closer to it, to come to the point of certainty that this is the right approach to unpack this subject. Sometimes it happens almost incidentally and you suddenly realize: I’ve got it! As soon as this moment of certainty is there, sometimes I can work for four or five months at a time on a single subject – and it’s a continuous flow. But I can also wait four to five months or longer for this moment to arrive!
Often certain projects are very specifically linked to a particular vision. But even when you see the general contours in your mind’s eye, the scale still isn’t there. Everything’s still kind of cloudy, it can be very small or very big – but still you have a certain hunch about where it might go. This, coupled with a certainty about how to get there, for example, so that the approach becomes a concept. Without knowing, of course, what is going to come out of it. But you know, so to speak, what road you have to take. When the certainty about the right approach finally arrives – well, that’s the best moment! Then, from there, the possibilities for how to proceed become apparent. Often you have to wander around the subject for months. But this also helps to develop a lot of approaches for future projects.
From this moment of certainty about the how, about the method, emerges a vision of the whole. This vision is really some thing like … like the relationship between time and entropy. I find that certainty and vision have a similar relationship to one another, which is to say that they move, so to speak, in a certain direction. Otherwise it would all just be repetitive, a mere repetition of a sequence of the same practices. Since there is an orientation, of course there is also a selection, even in practice, because you’ve got a different perception of reality and at the same time a different formation of reality through your focalization. That’s pretty interesting. This is what makes the relationship between certainty and vision so dynamic.
Otherwise there is, to my mind, no certainty at all in the entirety of the art world. I’ve often noticed this, and if you look at it once again from precisely that angle, the entire art world really thrives on the fact that there simply is no certainty. Individual subjects can discover their subjective certainty, but there isn’t any that is universally applicable. Sometimes the art market makes claims attempting to establish this kind of certainty, but then it’s always based on very specific parameters, like currently in the exhibition in the New National Gallery in Berlin, for instance: the four most important German painters. Here there is, I think, a collective or in some way even a curated certainty, so to speak. But otherwise, when I see what I experience with my audience, there is really an extreme uncertainty but also distinct curiosity about things. There seems to be such an enormous search for certainty. And it seems so urgent.
Recently I had a conversation with Franz Kaiser on just this topic. He said: the system is killing itself. And I was really surprised to notice … there is a point at which I can no longer say just that: I’m also a part of the system. For me personally, this doesn’t change anything with regard to what I do. For me what I do is always independent of all this and always will be. Because this also has a certain function, a kind of enhanced recognition or enhanced experience and is completely independent from any market or any popularity or any masses. And I totally believe that there will always be this orientation. Because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. It could be that people like me won’t necessarily feel at home in the art world in the future, but maybe more – I don’t know-in programming or in other fields, where a lot has to be tried out. I can also imagine that there is a tendency for a certain kind of engagement with the world not to be at home in only a single field anymore but rather to move from art into something else. But art is such a broad term anyway.
I think it’s ultimately all about a certain attitude, and this exists in all fields; it comes up again and again. To this extent you could say: the art scene as we know it today, okay, it’s dying. It’s probably dying of commerce. And the people asking the actual questions or leading discussions and who don’t work commercially at all are beginning to work in other fields. Because we don’t stop having all of these questions. Every generation orients itself toward the contemporary future in a new way. And originally I never wanted to become an artist. I ended up in this field because there was no other venue for the kind of thing I do.