Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wim Delvoye on painting: the artist, conflicted

.... a passage from the Border Crossings interview with Wim Delvoye (issue 96, November 2005).

(If you are not familiar with Delvoye's controversial and provocative work, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to read about his more traditional "art creds" first. His installation at la Galerie de l'UQAM in Montreal will close on Valentine's Day. I'll post more about that tomorrow.)

"BC: You like to draw?
WD: It’s very strange but, unlike most artists I admire, I'm a product of an art school. I went to art school, I learned to paint, for example, and I know how to draw. I also know how to draw in an academic way. The drawings are getting important now. They weren't when I started. I had Neo-geo guilt when I was a young artist. It’s only been in the last five years that I have been able to show my drawings without any embarrassment. It's funny because I never had any embarrassment doing the concrete mixers and other things. But I had a lot of difficulty showing my drawings. I was hiding those skills. That was against the zeitgeist. If you were an ambitious German artist in 1986 or '87 and admitted you liked to draw, you would be regarded as one of these dumb painters who were getting dropped everywhere. So I certainly was not betting on painting. I have nothing against painting, I just didn't see much for myself in it. I just thought I had more important things to do as a young artist. Ambitious art in those days was not about drawing skills. But basically I'm a painter. I've always been one but I never dared to paint, maybe because I value it too much or something."

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