Andreas Templin’s multivariate style lends his hand to sculpture, photography, installation, urban interventions and music. Each piece seems dedicated to an all-consuming process that examines philosophical quandaries and questions about mainstream culture. But although he tackles some big issues, he’s not afraid to use humour and irony in his work, which creates an adaptable and memorable presentationt that leaves the viewer wanting to learn more.
Could you talk about your work a little for us?
In the last ten years I lived through many different phases on a personal level, and informed by these developments, I learnt about different ways of approaching an artwork. One of my best decisions was definitely to move in 1995 from rural Southern Germany to former East Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg. I found a society in disarray while in complete flux, which deeply informed me in the ways I’m approaching the process of making art. I think this intense time resulted in a certain doubtfulness about methods and approaches that attempt to be very canonical by means of formal or contextual issues. Instead my approach in making art often differs heavily and changes from one project to the other in medium, articulation and form. It envelops itself in different models of art in public space, performative aspects, makes use of a scope of referential systems, aesthetic approaches and different sign regimes. I approach every new project or artwork differently. It is a bit like an actor that prepares for a new character he is going to perform.
“as if to nothing”, 2008, computer-based single-channel videowork with sound
What do you see when you look at Western society?
This theme is a very complex one, involving serious pitfalls of schizoditiy, doubleness and irrationalities. ‘One man’s truth is another man’s lie’ , isn’t it. I think on this theme can be found as many opinions as the shuffles and interplays of these domains are able to stage. As a single artist I rather choose for the individual as my focus of attention- my main point of reference is observing and evaluating my own mindset, how it changes, reacts or fantasizes while being confronted with new circumstances. I am fascinated about how consumer products were able to create a mimicry of individuality. The adult individual consumer is faced with the creative possibility of re-evaluating and (if necessary) reinventing his identity anew each day, by means of an overwhelming multitude of products available. The visual artist, 150 years back responsibly the door-opener for this groundbreaking development towards individuality, must now move with the times, and avoid being a fixed label but use everything available to her/him to create larger-than-a-consumer’s-life concepts and ideas of art. If the artists will settle for less, one of the leitmotifs of the last Documenta “Is modernity our antiquity?” will be answered by itself.
What do you get out of working with other individuals, such as Andreas L. Hofbauer (the Berlin-based philosopher)?
Sometimes making an artwork, especially if it demands a cross-disciplinary approach, is more like designing a structure, a vessel, which then gets filled with the content provided by the different participants. While working with the Berlin-based philosopher Andreas L. Hofbauer on our publication for “HELL IS COMING / WORLD ENDS TODAY” at Madrid Abierto (http://bit.ly/9fu1q4) I had the chance to win a brilliant contemporary mind to collaborate with me on this publication. I think the result speaks for itself : more than 12 000 people have been studying this publication since it has been published.
Whenever a specific artwork of project is demanding collaborations, I am starting to look for the partners that would make it complete. Sometimes it needs the right sparring-partner (for instance in the vinyl-album Andreas Templin plays Bach, in which Ingken Wagner and her deep knowledge of producing New Music and Soundart played an important role) to be realized, in other situations (like with the artwork ‘as if to nothing’) it needs excellent computer-programmers to achieve the final result.
You’ve been moving into photography (not as documentation) more and more this year, was this a conscious decision?
I have been photographing a lot over the last fifteen years, The decision to make it part of my artwork came spontaneously. I think I just didn’t know before how to treat it, how to integrate it in my artwork before that decision became clear. My solution was to apply a certain set of rules:
– there are only ten photographs issued every year in edition of three
– they are not printed bigger than on A3-paper as I want to treat them rather as drawings or additional comments. They help me to understand and communicate how I perceive time.
What are your most current theories on power?
I think any concept of power in its traditional negotiative boundaries is on the verge of being rendered obsolete by means of the hostile takeovers conducted by international organized crime. The investigation-results of Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) speak a clear language. He witnesses a subtle but constantly increasing leeway of the tectonic plates our civil societies are resting on. But as Neil Postman remarked in his book ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ in a paragraph comparing Huxley’s Brave New World with Orwell’s 1984.: “Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.” Probably the latter was more correct in his predictions…
Your classical musical ambitions are very endearing. Can you tell us a bit about what (if anything) you seek to find in your music?
In the moment I am performing in regular intervals as DJ Moderne, where I mainly play classical music. In the moment my focus is on energetic music of all kinds. I truly enjoy the immediacy of music’s impact on us. There is no place for a doubt. I was very impressed by Oliver Sacks book Musicophilia, which I see as a celebration of music as something that makes us human. I guess that’s also what fascinates me so much about music.
Andreas Templin plays Bach on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/andreastemplinplaysbach