So, thank you for inviting me in your studio. I see you have a lot of collage notebooks. What are they about?
Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by science, astronomy, and archaeology. In these books, I have collected many pictures taken by satellites of the surface of the moon and of planet Mars which I have put together in the form of a research, along with my own interventions. This series has been going on since 1997 when I was working together with friends who worked in the German Space Agency in Munich. When put together, these pictures compose a new, interesting form of landscape from a unique perspective, a view from above – the so-called bird´s-eye view, which interests me very much in my artistic creation. This is a big part of my inspiration and also led me to the decision to experiment with surfaces which resulted in my ‘Mars Series’.
Can you describe a little bit more in detail about the ‘Mars Series’?
Well, the Mars Series is a series of top-down paintings where I have extensively experimented with surfaces and the color red. I have taken several materials that people throw on the garbage and turned them into speculative extraterrestrial soil as imagined from the pictures I have seen. Through these series, I particularly wanted to reflect on unanswered questions such as ‘could life have come from this super cold planet’ or ‘where did life come from’? At the same time, I come face to face with questions regarding the future of humanity as a species like ‘is it possible to colonize other planets?. We, ‘earth-men’ have a talent in ruining big beautiful things. We love to produce garbage. Will our human arrogance trash up other planets too? These questions are prominent in my work and I try to re-imagine them by using all sorts of materials people would normally throw in the garbage and turning them into solid, hard, non-organic matter. I am encouraging people to touch, smell and look at my work because I think that the engagement of more than one senses is vital to appreciate my work.
Chersoneus Battle Place – Acryl – 120x160cm
Arsiamons 2004 – Acryl – 80x80cm
What are the basic ‘themes’ in your work?
Exploration of space; The Unseen; Modern technological age with robots and AI play a big role in the inspiration of the artist as I like to explore different interpretations of such incomprehensible creations. As mentioned, I am very fascinated by astronomy and the universe, so I draw inspiration from pictures and observations of other planets and stars in our solar system. My work also has strong architectural references and I love to experiment with what a surface can be, what it can look like and what it could be made of.
Would you say you are inspired by specific artists?
Yes, a couple of artists have played an important role in the development of my career. One of my most important influences is the famous collage modernist Kurt Schwitters who was using unexpected materials for his collage and was doing a lot of research before any creation. Another inspiration was while I was studying art in New York. During my studies, I had Larry Poons as instructor who was not a big fan of red but his painting surfaces exuded a wild energy; however, my Mars Series involves systematically the color red as a symbol of masculinity, power and even – violence. Another artist that greatly inspired from the first time I saw his show and onwards was Anselm Kiefer. The implementation of various materials and creation of diverse surfaces still remains a basic component of my work and his large-scale works never cease to impress me.
Architectural Remnants of an ancient civilization – 100x130cm
What is your biggest dream as an artist?
Well, I guess to have a group art exhibition alongside with Anselm Kiefer and Bosco Sodi in Tate Modern (Laughter). The other would be to somehow make sure that my art survives through time and is left to the new generations to reflect, comment on and get inspired by. I always have this anguish of whether my art will be good enough for the next generations to take over and this is what mostly drives me forward to constantly create and become better.
And what will your next projects look like?
My next project will revolve around the Mars topic but this time, I want to explore how Mars would look like from the inside. . . I would like to explore more the color variations in this effort. I am now also getting more interested in environmental topics, such as the pollution of our oceans, the melting ice, the soil degradation, and deforestation. New paintings dealing with such matters will be available in 2018.
Finally, I would like to explore more of installation work in the future.