FH: What is your first esthetic shock?
AM: The first esthetic shock was probably all over paint – all over my body and my sisters and the walls and the bath tub and everywhere, with “finger paint”. I loved it! There is a Super 8 film by my mother that shows us three, so I can also have taken the memory from there. But I also remember the “Mud Room” in my first kindergarden. My parents were ’68 people and had founded an antiauthoritarian kindergarden in Münster. It had one room in which we could wash of dirt, but also play around with dirt. Great!
If you ask for art, it was a book with paintings by Botticelli, which my grandmother showed to me when I was a child. Whenever I went to visit her, I would look at the images again. I especially loved the dresses – of Venus in the “Venus and Mars” painting, or of Flora on the shore. Something about the flowers on the soft white cloth, and the golden embroidery around Venus breasts – they were so beautiful and erotic and otherworldly. The paintings are even now to me like something very familiar, as if I had been in these gardens in my childhood.
FH: What is the first image you have in mind when you think about art?
AM: No image. More like a field, an open area of intensity, that shines from within, very bright. It’s the best place.
FH: How much of painting is not painting (but theoritical ideas about other things, or symbols etc…)?
AM: How can you seperate a painting from its content? Even “concrete” paintings contain their specific world of connotations. A painting is always part of the world, adding to it a slightly different world. Enriching the world in possibilities. But of course, a painting that will just try to illustrate “other ideas” will most of the times be rather boring. The ideas and symbols in it and its colors and all the rest should be a unity, as if it was a living organism.
FH: Would you like better to have foam teeth or foam arms?
AM: I really don’t want any of these! Especially not if the rest of my body is not also foam! Did you dream this? Was it a nightmare?
FH: Could you please explain us your personnal visual (or not) traditions?
AM: I try to follow a new tradition, started by Pawel Freisler. It has to do with apples (and eggs). But he won’t tell me what the tradition is, he says he is too lazy. So I try to make it up as truthfully to his ideas (as I understand them) as possible.
FH: Who were your important teachers?
AM: So many I cant count them. So I will just name the important teachers that I learned from during the research for “The World of Gimel” in the last three years: Issa Samb, Alejandro Jodorowsky, El Hadji Sy, Guan Yin, Helke and Thomas Bayrle, Pawel Freisler, John Joseph Mathews, Chuang Tzu. Oh, and I also learned a lot from Adam Budak!
FH: Making art, is it giving or taking?
AM: Making art is giving, but in giving you also receive. Of course I also take, for example what my collaborators in my paintings and films give me, but basically what I do is I involve them in the giving. We give together, which is much better than just a single person giving – and we receive together.
I have always been involved in a lot of group activities, like curating. Currently I take part in a feminist group, the ƒƒs, and we plan a two months program in the space of Lisa Ruyter in Vienna. The giving part is fun, but it also means on a practical level that you meet all winter, and drive to Vienna four times, and do a group abstract expressionist painting workshop and discussions and a procession and a remake of a lost theatre piece by Leonora Cunningham – and all this for fun and for free! I hardly ever get payed, it seems…
But, as my great teacher Alejandro Jodorowsky puts it in a video that I was able to do with him and in which he ponders over a strange object that I had shown him, a clay hand that is a teapot:
“The whole world can pass through an open hand. So that hand, which as a teapot is half-open, it’s the hand that gives. And what I give, I give it to myself. To receive the world is to give to the world.”