A lot of people are looking for the intensity of my work or the struggle of the artist or some deeper meaning, I’m trying to get away from meaning. I don’t mean anything; I just do something. –Albert Oehlen
How does your work reflect, respond to, or intervene in the real?
I don’t feel like someone can write a poem and start a war. Not anymore. Art is a commodity and words and images are just messages. Of course there’s social media campaigns that definitely have an impact but in terms of making art, I don’t feel you’re going to effect much change for the better. The idea that you can maintain culture or the semblance of normalcy by introducing art into terrible circumstances sounds noble, but it’s also fucked up and hard to reconcile with the way I work.
How do you think about your work in relation to the history of particular forms, processes, or artistic genres that your work is inspired by?
My process is a bit haphazard—accidental, intuitive. I’ve never stuck to one method of self-expression. I approach making sculptures or working with photography or painting in a similar way, which is figuring out how to muscle my way through inhibition, or the burden of expectation.
Some work relies heavily on a specific conceptual premise—the “idea” becomes a critical part of both making and interpreting the work. I’m more interested in the process of experimentation. In the end, the process itself might be more lucid and leaves the work open to different kinds of interpretations and reactions.
Having a precise or very specific idea and replicating it in two or three dimensions is not what I do. I’m trying to get all these things wandering around in my head out into a visual realm. In my paintings, I work through things and eventually get to a point where a piece finishes itself. Near the end of a painting there’s almost a strange detachment, a place where I feel like I’m not the one making the piece anymore. And that’s the place where I call it quits.