You are working very repetitive with your motifs at the exhibition – fx the Pinnochio figure or the self portrait – why is that?
My whole life, I have been doing that. I have claimed for myself certain icons, or invented them, and then I have chosen to put them in my back pocket and bring them out when I have to, when I feel it’s necessary, and then I use them. So, the self portrait, it’s always there, and it’s always this examination of myself, and Pinnochio has been there for years and years and years. It’s always treated differently even though he’s recognizable: it’s that symbol, it’s that guy
But will he also mean something different..?
One hopes that he will mean something different each time. That’s my intention.
It’s a very tough story, and I see it as a metaphor for art. This guy get’s a talking stick, and we hope it will gain consciousness. And that is what we are doing as artists; we are constantly trying to bring this idea to consciousness.
What was it that influenced you by this figure in the first place?
I saw him when I was 6 years old in this film, and he was really frightening to me as a little boy, and he stayed with me, and I used him in my art for the first time in 1993. I had wanted to use him for a long time, but it’s often that way with me: I don’t choose the subject-matter, the subject-matter grabs me by the back of the neck.
But everything must start from yourself somehow?
They choose me, and then I act upon it.
So what is it in the photography process that interests you?
The speed. I’m extremely impatient. I’m always looking for an ease to get the idea out, and in that way photography suits me well. The magic of photography is that you can click it so fast. With photography you can keep clicking, and you have the record – you can reject it, keep it or use it later. For me it’s quite magical. I try not to make it too realistic.
You are working with so many different materials and in so various media – are you looking for the same thing in each media, or is it something particular?
I use different medias for different things. I enjoy carving wood, it’s a physical thing, I enjoy using plaster and clay, to model, it’s a physical thing, I enjoy painting in a very physical way, and I enjoy drawing, because drawing for me informs everything I do; it’s a way of seeing accurately and observing, and I try very hard to make my hand do with my eye says, and what my heart says. So yes, they are all different media, but they are still me. You know, it’s like a guy who is a chef; if he cooked hamburgers all the time it would be boring!
So let’s talk again about this exhibition. In your title you refer to ‘remembrance’ and memory. What is the connection between photography and memory for you?
In this case I’ve used it to remember those moments, that I wanted to remember. And people. All my work is personal, that’s all I care about. It’s autobiography. That’s what I care about, that’s my subject-matter.
You have written on the wall behind us that the camera is a ‘demon-box’? How’s that?
How’s that? Because it is. It’s demonic what it can do. It’s like it’s possessed. That’s what it is about
Can you explain more about that?
Like I spoke before, it is a magical box and it has a demonic quality.
A lot of people would say the opposite. That the camera is telling the exact truth of reality…?
That’s why I’m not other people. It’s always a little different with me.