Me, Marcel, and I is the title of one of my artworks and emblematic of my understanding of my art: a fusion of art history and corny jokes, megalomania and gallows humor. I make links between things that are apparently not connected—and so give rise to new meanings. Playing with words and puns generates ideas for new projects and then comes the work of giving those ideas concrete form.
My practice encompasses a broad range of media yet two primary focuses have crystalized over the years: sculptured light and collage. Each stands for a contrary approach. Works with light begin with a sudden idea. Then follows the long-drawn-out process that (hopefully) culminates in the exact expression of my intent. With collage, the reverse is true. Here, the material, the acts of cutting out and recombining and not least pure chance are decisive. It is a process in which my subconscious comes into play and the outcome of which is beyond my will. Both approaches are equally valid. Collage is in my view the ultimate means of gazing into one’s psyche. And the fascination of sculpted light lies for me in its sleek surface, behind which I can conceal the abyss of all too human folly.
Not that I’m didactic. I seek to attain nothing but the finished work. It is more a case of regular reflection: a means both to grouse against idiocy, including my own, as well as to take an at times embarrassing look in the mirror of numerous self-portraits of the Belgian diva, …the sobbing Eros, …Odin in a rose garden, et cetera. Should the viewer have some gain from this, it’s fine—for the viewer. If not then it is all the same to me.
Styles and media per se hold no importance for me. The contest between figuration and abstraction, highbrow and lowbrow is irrelevant. I make art because it is the very air that I breathe—not because I have a certain agenda. My artworks draw heavily on words, also because I’m skeptical of images. Years ago, I’d often quarry the writings of theoreticians and art historians to give my work more backbone: Beat Wyss, Arthur C. Danto, Peter Weibel, Walter Benjamin, and Michel Foucault. In the meantime, I find novelists and poets—Dante, Goethe, Balzac, Grass, Montaigne, Márquez—more important, since they’re intrepid explorers of the mind.
So my art, for me, is like traveling. I find the process of being en route torturous and look forward to the retrospective that will show me I’m still alive. Making art means everything to me—anytime I don’t actually have to make it.