Superfacesurface: Malerei in Berlin #4 Maximilian Arnold & Ørjan Einarsønn Døsen

ØED: We have been working together on a painting project called “The Forecast” for a year now, why do you think this collaboration has worked out so well?

MA: Well, do you mean the process of the collaboration or the works? I think both worked out very well in the end, but it was a long process, right? I don’t know, when I asked you at Kirmse’s and Fidschi’s house party at the end of 2017, I had a feeling it just would fit. I always liked your works, especially the show at Fiebach Minninger, and we constantly had a high level when talking about art and painting, especially that evening haha…I think my idea was to ask someone who would be most far away from my approach/process of working and yet at the same time be super close, does that make sense? I guess the whole collabo demonstrates that quite well, I mean I could never work like you destroying almost everything which works in order to rebuilt it painterly, that deconstructivism kind of approach. I am not a painter’s painter who works himself through a process in oil paint to reach something in the end which then somehow functions. Sometimes in very rare moments I wish I could be though, haha! This became quite clear when we were painting all these forecast images together. The first 3 months in oil was a nightmare for me, but a helpful and useful one in the end. Also, a lot of times we were not the same opinion, but on the other hand there is something really strong which we have in common. Combining our two really different ends into one thing was exactly what I was searching for. Maybe it’s also related to a more personal level? I think we are good at working/talking stuff through to find a compromise and “educate” each other, but in an interesting and challenging way – may it seemed so rocky first. I guess it’s about pushing each other further as artists…or how do you think about it?

ØED: It feels like it is too early to be describing our approach to painting like you do here. The job is to challenge what’s can be interpreted as comfortable, or not? I am interested in all aspects of it. Learning is my main drive and I don’t feel restricted to a set form of materials or gestures. I have rules but I keep changing them when they become a couch and a TV. Looking at our earlier work I think the new works are stronger then what we individually have done so far. Perhaps it is always the case that you are more into the latest work you have done. Nevertheless my question also came about because of how we have discovered so many differences in our stands but yet still being able cooperate so well. Around the time we began talking about the collaboration I knew that the idea needed structure and a more systematic approach. You normally work more in that direction so I was also optimistic from the start. We had several of those kind of talks that were so good that you have no memory of the content of it anymore haha!

MA: That’s exactly what I meant by pushing each other, leaving one’s comfort zone to withstand certain results initiated by the other person! Yes, we had a lot of nice talks, I remember one when we spoke about how personality is connected to an approach and process of doing works, especially the more neurotic kind of personality parts, can you see these for the both of us in the new works and how?

ØED: I appreciate being on a boarder of what is authentic and what is inauthentic. Giving a wink at science is for me taking a laugh at, or flirting with the philosophical direction of positivism. Behind that is also the fact that we arrived in the higher education right after the bologna process, a random agreement on a standard of education that merged art and science. I never felt home being surrounded by all the research artists and therefore took off to old school Düsseldorf who refused these standards and continued a more traditional and free education. Years later you find yourself remembering things that you didn’t see as a lesson at the time and it shows up in your work. So personal experiences are present, but you might as well go against them or see them from different angels and make up stories. You went in the opposite educational direction but then we met here in Berlin, standing outside a bar in Kreuzberg in the night not knowing anything about the future. What do you want from making art works? How important is self awareness?

MA: To be honest I haven’t yet discovered so far exactly what I want from making art, I guess it’s rather about figuring it out in the long term. With each work you end up a bit closer, reflecting, thinking and talking about it. In my case, self awareness is a search for meaning. It is not so much the self-analysis and conceptualization I am thinking about, which are important for me too, but more the fact that ​you know that there is something more out there and you desperately want to find it. A first step to understanding. It seems to me that a collaboration is a powerful thing when it comes to this point, it forces you in a different way as we were already talking about it. There have been some great artist collaborations in the past, from Rauschenberg/Johns to Guyton/Walker to name just two I always was kind of into. It seems to me – correct me if I am wrong and simply don’t know – that not so many young(er) artists of our generation are interested in doing so by understanding it as a tool, especially when we are talking about self-awareness. If so, why do you think that’s the case?

ØED:: I think it is very healthy to let go of proudness and ego in general. I see many artists focusing on power and trying to copy the recipe of success from their older heroes high in the artworld hierarchy, instead of being humble and following their true interests and live in their own time and space. When I feel curious about something, I try to get into it asap while my excitement for it still lingers. You will have to cut off outside judgement then, while telling yourself that nobody knows your context and where you are coming from better than yourself. People who ask „Is this cool to do?“ while thinking about judgments have already failed. One of our main topics in the studio last year in my eyes was “How to live a good life?”. For myself I think the answer to this question has become more and more clear: be grateful for what you have.

Fotografie Neven Allgeier