INTERVIEW PUBLISHED IN SARAH GOLD SELECTED WORKS 2010-2019
Q In this book, you have organized your artworks chronologically according to the day on which the photos were taken. Why did you choose to do so?
SG My works are like a diary, documenting intimate moments of my life. Since the photographic documentation of these encounters are the origin of my artworks, I decided to use that date to document the chronology of my life. In addition, the titles contain the names of the people with whom I shared that specific moment.
Q Your work depicts sensual, erotic or even images which some people would classify as pornographic — why do you choose this type of images for your work?
SG I want to express something which is meaningful to me. To show that we do not have to be ashamed of ourselves. To fight hypocrisy in a world that becomes more and more prudish, at least on the surface. By saying this, I do not wish to point any fingers. But I look at myself and —although I am the opinion that one should be free of shame— I find it difficult to be comfortable with myself. Making and seeing my own artworks constantly challenges me to reflect upon my life.
Q You place always text on your photos. Where does this text come from, is there a message in your texts and what is the relationship between the photos and the text in your work?
SG The text can come from anywhere. It starts by reading, listening to music, conversations, comments I hear, or a thought that pops into my mind. Everything I find interesting, sourced from inner or outer input, I write down in a notebook. Taking these notes as a reference, I develop a text that fits the situation depicted or reflecting the connection I have with that person. The intensity does vary because all subject(s) are different. But sometimes the text is just a general opinion or thought I have. It feels liberating to express.
Basically, I am talking to myself. If one wishes to see it as a message, you’re free to do so. However, it is not my intention to preach nor to convey the exact meaning of the thought I have. But I do admit it would be fantastic if my work could have a positive influence on how people live their lives, if I could move people. MORE SEX – LESS STRESS. That’s it.
Q All your works are photos of yourself with one or more of your lovers, why did you choose to present yourself in so many different sexual situations?
SG I think humans are fascinating creatures. We are all the same species, yet we can differ so much. These differences can also be found in sexual preferences. There is an array of ways to find sensual and sexual enjoyment, yet many people are still not open about their wishes and fantasies. Because I decided to dedicate my work to this human interaction I decided —as long as I don’t get permanent physical damage — to show the many facets of intimacy I encounter. Just documenting, experiencing the moment without judgement and to share these experiences.
Q Your photos and text vary strongly in colour and you use also several different type fonts, what is the reason behind these choices?
SG Images and words convey meaning, whereas colour and typeface can create emotion and ambience. As every encounter documented in my work had a specific atmosphere and feeling, I use a variation of colours and fonts to depict this.
Q I noticed that your work mainly has standardized sizes and is exhibited mounted on aluminium floating slightly of the wall. Why?
SG My first works were smaller and had various sizes. They were framed in a simple whitewash wooden frame behind glass. But while developing my work further, I started to prefer to have no glass so the work as a total is better visible. At a certain point, standard sizes were the way to go, for many reasons. One of them being that they harmonize together. The last years my works were always 105x105 cm (41x41 inches), 105x70 cm or 70x105 cm (27x41 inches). The seemingly floating aluminium plate instead of the classical frame comes from when somebody told me: ‘Your work is without borders’.
Q Looking at several artists who are active now and who were mainly active in the past, is your work related to anybody, or, where does your work come from?
SG My work originates from myself. I do not know another artist making what I make. Nonetheless, I am a product of many different influences, ideas and thoughts that I adopted, mainly coming from artists whom I got to know in person. All those influences helped to create me in a way that I now can say that my works come from within me, they are me. Trying to analyze the different influences is a challenge.
First of all, the Dutch artist Rene Rietmeyer with his concept of Time, Space and Existence. I think the decision to use myself as the subject in my work has been influenced by this raised self-awareness. Here I am; departing from and expressing my own personal life is the most open and honest I can be.
The first participation in Hermann Nitsch’s Orgien Mysterien Theater in 2010. The experience helped me to be more comfortable with myself. Contrary to Nitsch his concept, however, my works are taken from real life. I have no script and do not rehearse. But in essence, we both want to live life to the fullest with all senses heightened.
The obviousness and at the same time the complexity of the Viennese work of the American Lawrence Weiner “Smashed to pieces (in the still of the night)” and the works and poems of herman de vries; “to be all ways to be”. These artists that I like are all not fake, “what you see is what you get”, but especially Yoko Ono gave that extra dimension of humanness. I never forget bumping into her by coincidence. She threw her arms open and hugged me. She is about Interaction.
Marina Abramovic for being so intense. Whatever it takes. Nothing more nothing less. Even Ben Vaultier from France has been an important ‘just go for it’ experience. The Polish artist Roman Opalka for raising intense awareness about time. And that you can be very serious about everything and at the same time enjoy life. Drinking beer and eating crisps in the freezing cold studio of Toshikatsu Endo in Tokyo. So archaic and pure.
Teresa Margollis for such a strong representation of an unavoidable Mexican topic; Death. Tom Wesselmann for truly loving girls and Wayne Thiebaud for depicting beauty, sweetness and indulgence. Tracey Emin for her guts to show her private sphere and John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha for their style and humour. Whatever you do, just do it and stand behind your creation.
The last artist I would like to mention is Jeff Koons. I saw his exhibition when I was 14. Most of the works were glorified kitsch but the gigantic close-up photographs of sexual acts, like Koons his penis penetrating Ilona Staller did leave an impression. However, unlike Koons my photos aren’t staged. They are taken from real life and are not meant to glorify myself but to express freedom.
Q Besides the messages in your text, is there anything that you wish to achieve by creating, exhibiting and publishing your work?
SG I hope to create a smile, give enjoyment, maybe even sometimes to be able to support people to free themselves from their own restrictions or show them things they did not see before. Like travelling — to broaden horizons and thereby enrich your life.
Q I could imagine that many people might disapprove of your work for several different reasons. Is that something you are looking forward to?
SG Looking forward? Not at all. However, I can imagine that some might disapprove. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But in mine, there is nothing wrong with sharing consensual tenderness.
Q Many artists try to achieve publicity by creating artworks that provoke or shock people, claiming they only want to create a larger awareness about certain topics. Are you one of those artists?
SG People might be shocked by my work, although it has never been my intention. I am no intellectual and I definitely do not want to preach anything. I solely want to be and express myself and hopefully bring some additional value in other people’s lives.
Q There is very seldom a man on your photos, almost only women, why is that?
SG To me, women are more sensual and pleasant to have sex with. Don’t get me wrong, I do like men and I do love cock. But for capturing my moments of intimacy, I find women are just so much more of everything.
Q There are more artists who depict nudes or sexual actions, most often the situations are staged. How is the making of your photos done in reality?
SG I just meet with my lovers, we have no plans or poses, we just are in our moment, our here and now. We try not to think about the fact that photos are being made, we forget the photographer. However, sometimes I remember you, the viewer, then I look at you, to share this moment with you.
Q Your work already presents a 10-year period of photos with you having sex. You are 41 years old now, do you think that you can continue to do this much longer?
SG At this moment I cannot tell you. My work is not about beauty or perfection. Therefore, age should not be a factor. However, it is possible that at a certain age I lose my sex drive. What I would do then? I don’t know. I can picture myself, old, ugly and naked. Human. Powerful. My works are like self-portraits, stories of my life. That only ends when I am dead.