An der Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie wurden im 19. Jh. Die „Künstlerklasen“ institutionell verankert. Als Vorbild dafür können die Nazarener mit ihrem Bezug auf die mittelalterlichen Werkstätten und der Betonung eines Persönlichen Verhältnisses zwischen Meister und Schüler gesehen werden.
Die Künstlerklassen an der Düsseldorfer Akademie sind größtenteils nach Gattungen Strukturiert, das Hauptgewicht fällt dabei auf Malerei und Skulptur. Seit 2010 leitet Andreas Gursky eine Klasse für freie Kunst in Düsseldorf. Er beendet nun nach acht Jahren seine Lehrtätigkeit in Düsseldorf. Wir nehmen dies zum Anlass hier und jetzt zurück und nach vorne zu schauen.
In zufälliger Reihe erscheinen an dieser Stelle Interviews mit acht ehemaligen und aktuellen Studierenden aus Gurskys Klasse für freie Kunst. Den Anfang macht Lucia Sotnikova.
How important was your education at Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie for you as an artist?
Let’s talk about the time in the academy and the institution itself, because I do not believe in art education. The academy and my class were sort of a green house for me – a place with ideal artificial circumstances for artistic experiments. Exchange with other students gave me a slight clue of how human perception works. The access to different workshops and their facilities definitely gave me a new understanding of what can be physically produced. I think Kunstakademie was a harbor, protected from the outside storms, letting infrastructure and relationships germinate and grow.
What influenced your decision to study in the class of Gursky?
I guess, it was my interest in visual information and the fact that photography is a medium that has a special relation to time. At the same time I wanted to study Freie Kunst and not photography. So when I was applying to the academy, the class of Andreas Gursky was a match – students working with a broad variety of media, and the professor having a very interesting view on photography. That was the class, where I wanted to be.
Can you imagine to teach art yourself?
In your work we can see classical motives. For example in Reading. The photograph captures legs in the way of a classical contrapposto turning pages in books, in which antique art is depicted. Considering your work, how important are art-historical motives and compositional principles?
It is quite unusual for me to depict that type of a scene. Would you see the work in real scale – you would notice, that only two of the open books contain old Indian frescoes and Egyptian reliefs. One book is about the moon-landing, the other has a still from Casanova movie, a book in front pictures medical treatments of heavily burned bodies, and the legs turn the page of a book about enzymes, there you see images of a human brain. It is an image, with information, time, languages, points of view layered on top of each other. Also the act of deep reading is an intimate process, maybe more intimate today then other things. So it is special to show it in a way that differs from our archetypical understanding of how that process should look. Composition and motives are a vocabulary for visual articulation. I try to use them depending on how clear I want my message to be.
In conversation with KubaParis, you told us you work on the go. Can you tell us more about your working process?
I am not a studio type of person. The most comfortable situation for me to photograph is while waiting in lines to doctors, picking up parcels from old cardboard factories, or sorting boxes in my father’s garage.
Your photographs frequently reject the viewers spacial orientation – especially in depth. How important is the medium photography and its conditions for your work?
Probably, that happens unconsciously because I grew up being surrounded by soviet monumental-decorative art esthetics, and love them ever since.
In 2016 you realized a project for Hérmes, Düsseldorf. What is the relation between your work and fashion?
I like fashion, when I go through my images archive and see some very appealing images of slugs in a jar I think – that could be a cool fabric print.
What are current and upcoming projects you work on?
My graduation is number one project right now. But new things are coming. I will keep you updated.
Thank you for your time and all the best for your graduation.
Interview Leon Jankowiak