Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Interview : Theo Altenberg

I remember when I first laid eyes on a Theo Altenberg painting I couldn't help but to feel happy. Almost as if I were in a dream that made me feel at ease, like everything would be alright. It's a feeling that I will never forget. Altenberg is truly an extraordinary man his profession being a Performer, Artist, and Singer. I am very honored to have the opportunity to do a quick Q&A with the master himself for GOLDREBEL.

GR: Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live.

T.A.: My life is an ongoing process of discovering medias of the adequate expression to my personal situation and the situation of the culture that surrounds me.
It´s about to free your system from simple resolutions and digging down into the knowledge of former cultures like the Mayan, Inca, Egyptians .....
I live and work in Berlin.

GR: You're an artist, performer, and a do you juggle all of this?

T.A.: Since my youth I was inspired by art, music, dance, nature, architecture and design. In the art school that I joined during 1969 - 1973 we had a many-sided education in different art media like film, photo, color theory, drawing, morphology, woodwork, art theory.

GR: Inspiration/ influences?

T.A.: Major influences came from the music revolution during the 60ies. When I first heard James Brown and the Soul musicians from Stax and Motown in 1964/65 I was sure about the meaning of life: Finding your own Groove. Later I was caught by artists like Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Paul Thek, Land Art and of course performance art like Viennese Actionism: Günter Brus, Otto Muehl, Hermann Nitsch and Rudolf Schwarzkogler.
My conclusion was: Art is about existential emotions and breaking taboos in your thinking processes. About different ideas in beauty/ugly and ecstacy. About complexity and silence.

GR: Fav band(s) at the moment.

T.A.: Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit (nonplace)

GR: 3 places to visit in Berlin.

T.A.: New Museum (Egypt Collection), Club of the Visionaries, Hoffmann Collection

GR: Your paintings are so vivid and full of life, does this reflect your personality?

T.A.: It took a long period of exercises and experiments to reach the liquidity and the undesigned freedom of the paintings I actually produce.
Every major work of art reflects the personality of the artist and at the same time hits a collective search for true wisdom. It has some kind of connection to the human "soul history". The masterpieces of art history are like living "evolutioning" beings. They develop a growing deepness. Even if they disappear or fall asleep for decades or centuries they will always strike back to enter again into the spheres of human consciousness. Beside the circumstance of love painting and sculpture might be the most profound mirrors for our possible complexity in experience.

All original images via Theo Altenberg's website.
Click here for more of his work.

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