Tobias, imagine you would welcome us in your home or studio. Where do we speak together? In the studio, at a long meeting table, like in an insurance of ice from 20 years ago. Light green carpet, standing lamp and leather of ice chairs. An industrial space in the former east of Berlin. Next door there’s a car dealer and a gym. There’s a sculpture sitting at the desk as well. Where do you come from, where were you born when? I was born in 1982 close to Lucerne Switzerland, in small medieval town called Sempach. And I grew up close to there in Beromünster, playing music a lot, flying gliders and snowboarding. Where do you currently live and work? I live and work in Berlin and Zürich. I work everywhere but I guess mostly in the studio. Which stations and people have shaped you? I remember an Andy Warhol car crash at the Museum in Lucerne and going back several times when I was about 11. Ken Lum was my most important teacher and mentor. Which authors and books can be found on your bookshelf? Which books have influenced or shaped you and what are you currently reading? Julia Kristeva, George Bataille, Heiner Müller, Dorothy Parker, Guillaume Dustan, Paul Preciado, Quinn Latimer, Mark von Schlegel, Natasha Stagg, Stephanie LaCava, Gerry Bibby,… I’m currently reading quite a lot of unpublished works of friends of mine. My favorites are the new chapters of a novel that my girlfriend Theresa Patzschke is working on. (Editor’s note: An excerpt from this novel accompanies the current exhibition by Tobias Spichtig at CFA Berlin) What music do you listen to and when? I love Tim Heckers music and PAN Records is my favourite label. Lately I’ve been listening to Mick Barr on repeat, Hardcore and Heavy Metal while working on paintings. If you would cook something for us, what would it be? I’d probably cook a Swiss pasta dish. What do you like to eat most? I love canned peas or entrecote. But lately I eat and cook vegan most of the time. What do you think about breakfast? I don’t like breakfast. What kind of sport or counterbalance do you practice? I meditate and I take horse riding lessons. I also swim a lot and look forward to practice Judo again. Do you have special passions for which you are burning? I started playing the piano a few years ago and I like buying sunglasses. Do you have a concern that you would like to share with us, or a personality trait that defines you, special thoughts, a fetish, typical idiosyncrasies? I can’t think of any.
Tobias Spichtig, 2020, Foto Tobias Spichtig
To begin, please tell us your artistic vita in a few sentences.
My favourite shows so far are; Die Matratzen with Jan Kaps in Cologne, Deadlines in Heaven Galerie Bernhard in Zürich, Total Hell Waldo in Maine, Das Böse im Dunkeln at Freehouse London, Der Fels in Brandenburg at Eclair Berlin and Love and Die at the CAC Synagogue de Delme with the Curator Benoît Lamy de La Chapelle. I worked a lot with Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff on Theater Plays at New Theater and the Volskbühne, Berlin.. My favourite performances were together with Theresa Patzschke, at the Kunsthalle Zürich, the Kunstverein in Cologne and the Swiss Institute in New York.
Two sentences about your current project / the upcoming exhibition at Gallery Weekend.
The title of the show at Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin is Pretty Fine. I will be showing new paintings and a sculpture.
What are you most concerned about at the moment; what is on your mind?
I’m really concerned about the climate. But I think about abstract paintings a lot lately.
Artist Studio Tobias Spichtig
How did you come to art? Why art?
I don’t know why exactly. I liked to design my own clothes as a kid and my mother gave me a camera when I was very little, that I always carried around. I guess it just happened.
What makes you happy at the moment? What is currently scaring you?
I’m happy about that things seem to change and power structures are falling apart. I’m scared that the change is not radical enough.
Do you believe that art has a social responsibility? And what do you think it can do?
Yes. I think it is a social responsibility in itself. It can mean and do anything.
Artist studio Tobias Spichtig, desktop with sculpture
What makes your art special? What are the central themes of your work?
I don’t know what and if and I hope I never will. There’s not really a central theme.
How do you protect yourself from too much inspiration these days?
I can’t get enough.
How much in your works is planned in advance – how much is created intuitively?
I always know in advance what I want to do. But it takes turns to get there. It’s mostly impossible to plan, so I work more in a stream.
What should your art effect on the viewer?
I’m not sure. Some sort of pleasure?
What are your (next) goals?
The next show at Galerie Bernhard in Zürich and finishing the three publications I’m working on.
Artist Studio Tobias Spichtig
What is your opinion about faith? Do you have principles of faith or is there a motto?
I grew up catholic and I guess I still am. But I believe in anything that touches me.
Which project would you still like to realize, if lack of time, courage or financial resources would not play a role?
I just want to keep on working. I can’t really think of my work in terms of projects.
Artist Studio Tobias Spichtig
What do you consider to be attributes of good art?
That it looks and feels good. Whatever that means. And that one can’t really tell why entirely.
Is one born as an artist*? Or is studying art compulsory in your view?
Who knows? If you like what you do you’re probably born for it. But if it’s just fun and nothing else it is probably not what one’s born for.
To whom do you show a new work first?
Depends on who’s around. Mostly I have someone in mind.
What does the first hour of your day look like?
I get up and start working.
The exhibition Pretty Fine with new works by Tobias Spichtig can be seen from 2 September to 26 September 2020 at CFA Berlin (Contemporary Fine Arts), Grolmanstraße 32/33, 10623 Berlin-Charlottenburg. The gallery is talking part in the Gallery Weekend Berlin (11.09.-13.09.2020).
In times of Corona, when travel, studio visits and personal contacts are inappropriate or even impossible, the written interview remains an important medium to introduce artist personalities, to spread their messages and to stay in touch with art enthusiasts.
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