1. “Postmodernism strips things of their natural context and challenges them with a different setting. You confront images of saints, scientists and national heroes with a caricature of a modern surrounding.”
2. “With postmodernism, only being aware of the convention and bringing it up to your audience you can create something intimate to the thing you’re decribing. We could say that postmodernism is play with convention and a versatility of form.”
(quotes from Wikipedia)
When I first attempted to describe my own work, I asked myself the following question: how could I name what I do? Only then did I come think of postmodernism. I looked at it afresh and it turned out that it fits perfectly.
My work is exactly that. A collage of forms and metaphores. I use pop culture paradigms such as LEGO, Star Wars, Mario Bros or Bruce Lee and combine them to convey something new. This clash of worlds and meanings gives rise to a new reality that recreates or ridicules all that it represents.
None of my work has a specific message or a given interpretation in itself. It’s a play on symbols, meanings and contrasts. The symbol becomes removed, we are suddenly able to look at it from afar. Even the seemingly serious pieces are often full of irony. Whenever there is realism, it’s crushed with satire and whenever there is pathos it’s given to ridicule. I am the illusionist who shows the audience the secret to every trick. Shows, but not explains.
I revel in taking things down, like a child I want to see what’s underneath. Layer after layer. Nothing is as it seems. The myth that there is a seriousness to a painting, a profound message, I take down. I paint realistically but I reject the the claim that art has a right to provide answers and tell right from wrong, the only thing I do not reject are the questions. When I paint an “image” of a pistol or a post stamp, I ask what about the image is real. The paint pretends to be wood, which pretends to be a pistol. I show it by a clash of people, phones, photographs, toys (an echo of pre-modernism) with paint, that is nothing but colour, a tone and no more (modernism). We get a fractal structure, where every layer translates into the next, and every layer is an illusion in itself (postmodernism). After all, if I paint a scene from a movie, I’m pretending it’s a frame in the film rather than a painting and the movie itself is an illusion in the first place. I never painted Han Solo, I painted Harrison Ford playing Han Solo. And it’s not Han Solo after all, it’s a bit of paint. („Ceci n’est pas une pipe”)... Red, yellow, white, it’s nothing but colour, nothing but paint. This is how I dissect the “message” (the form, the symbol, the meaning) to reveal that it’s void. Like a particle physicist dissects matter to reveal it’s nothing byt force. Reality is like a Russian nesting doll sold to tourists at the Red Square. One inside the other. To understand a reality, I need to understand its next layer, for ever. One doll inside the next.
After all, even a choice of topic is a giveaway. How can a painting of a post stamp, an antique pistol, a museum cabinet or a frame from a movie not ridicule the role of a painting? The weight it carries? Isn’t that the purpose of art, of philosophy, of misticism? To take things down? Socrates told the good people of Athens “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” But that’s one hell of a knowledge.