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CHRISTIAN SCHWARZWALD. EVERYBODY MAKES DRAWINGS

Intervista a cura di / Interview by Andrea Sassi

AS: Caro Christian nella tua biografia definisci te stesso come un artista che lavora con il disegno, che ruolo dai a questo media e come tu lo utilizzi?
CS: My idea of drawing is big. From a small little sketch that is scribbled onto a napkin to big drawing-installations, all of that is drawing. Drawing is first of all very simple. Everybody makes drawings. And through that simplicity of a quick notation it is connected to ideas and to very different other fields of art and science. Architecture, Philosophy, Music and many other disciplines are all directly connected to drawing and they are all getting closer and more important to contemporary art. This is the special thing about drawing – it has a connection to these disciplines and it keeps it active. This is why I love it and work with it.
If you take a pen and make a line on a piece of paper from left to right. There is a simple line. But there is also an image of our entire world. It can be a horizon. Heaven and earth are divided by that one line. There is everything reduced to that line. And in this sense my idea of drawing is big.

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LEAN, 2014, acrilico su tela, cm 300 x 200. Courtesy dispari&dispari project, Reggio Emilia.

AS: A Reggio Emilia tu hai presentato un’installazione fatta con disegni sorretti da elementi di uso quotidiano, puoi raccontarci qualcosa di piu?
CS: I work with drawing in very different forms. Drawing of course is working with pictures. But for me it is to take these pictures and put them into special settings and situations. So I often work with drawings and use them as material and make installations out of it. Installation art often like an artwork that you can actually enter – like a picture you can step into. It means bringing the picture and the actual space with all its material together. 
In our contemporary world we are bombarded with picture information. We almost cannot escape the constant flow of pictures. And exactly this new situation I want to face with my work at eye sight. I want to make art that stands up to the pictures of the world but also opens itself to the other side – the side of the unknown and unseen. I want to show that a picture is a membrane between us and the unknown. I made many works that dealt with the definition of the space and this membrane. In the exhibition at dispari & dispari project in Reggio Emilia I want to lean into this membrane. This is why I called the work LEAN. I wanted to touch the picture itself – in that case drawings on a wooden wall – but transgress it at the same time. So I used everyday objects to hold the drawings up against the wall. The are not really fixed on the wall, but they are stuck between the objects that are heavy and leaning against the wall and the wall itself – and this is why the stay there up on the wall and do not fall down.

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LEAN, 2014, acrilico su tela, cm 300 x 200. Courtesy dispari&dispari project, Reggio Emilia.

AS: Oltre ai disegni, in mostra ci sono grandi opere su tela, come mai questa tua inusuale dimensione pittorica?
CS: I used to work on canvas many years ago and then I gave it up to focus more on the idea of drawing itself. I wanted to be close to the idea of a picture and the actual picture at the same time and for this it was often better for me to use paper or make drawings directly on the wall. It was to avoid the object, that a canvas always is, and to work with a more abstract idea of drawing. And I also liked the pictures to be vulnerable, like a piece of paper is (or a drawing on a wall where it will eventually be overpainted). In LEAN it is essential to open a kind of “entrance” for the viewer. I want the spectators to lean themselves into the pictures and for this the use of canvases was the right choice. They are very big canvases and it is a physical experience of the picture that should invite you to step in.

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LEAN, 2014, acrilico su tela, cm 300 x 200. Courtesy dispari&dispari project, Reggio Emilia.

AS: Sembra che le tue opere siano state disegnate per l’architettura industriale della galleria...
CS: The industrial architecture of the gallery is a challenge and the perfect setting for LEAN. Because the space itself is not really constructed to a size of a human being, but that of heavy machinery. To be used for production or for storage purposes. The gallery space of dispari & dispari is in this sense the perfect empty space. “Empty” in this sense means that it is signifies “possibility” in a very pure sense. I like the architecture because it is not a space, where you can adjust or live of feel at home. It is rather a space that  asks questions than gives answers. And on the other hand I see myself as worker and my drawings also as material and so this industrial space is the ideal space for LEAN.

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Due vedute della mostra LEAN, dispari&dispari project, Reggio Emilia, 2014. Courtesy dispari&dispari project, Reggio Emilia. Foto Dario Lasagni.


AS: Questa è la tua seconda apparizione a Reggio Emilia nell’arco di soli due anni, puoi raccontarci come e nato questa relazione con dispari&dispari?
CS: I was invited by the painter Katrin Plavcak to an exhibition called STAG. It was a painting exhibition with very many artist, a show that I liked very much to be a part of. For the exhibition I made a wall work directly on the spot and upon entering the space of dispari&dispari I was immediately taken by the space but also by the enthusiasm that went along with the whole time being there. So I was more than just happy to be asked to make a project here. dispari&dispari is really an art space that is truly open to new things. It focusses on projects rather than single art-objects and it is really a catalyst for ideas.

AS: Sei un artista austriaco che vive a Berlino ma il tuo rapporto con l’Italia è molto profondo...
CS: My personal history with Italy goes far back. At an early age I was already taken by the Italian culture and this interest never faded but is still  constantly growing. My first escapes as an adolscent were to Italy and it was later a true gift for me to receive the Villa Romana Art Prize that is connected to a stay of one year at Villa Romana in Firenze. In this for me very important period I not only learned the language a little, but got in close contact and a dialogue to Italian art that is still active. This is not a historical dialogue but it is a dialogue throughout history – very much alive to today – about the essence of art from the Romans through the Renaissance all the way to Arte povera and into the future.

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