Next is a brief interview Sebastian Haslauer and Dennis Knopf had in a public swimming pool in Suhl on March 17th, 2012.
So, dude! Love that series of small sculptures of yours, they're so colorful and intriguing. What made you move away from painting?
Well, I've been using enamel and acrylic color, so: car finish and plastic, in my paintings... and I wanted to try out making plastic sculptures out of old toys I've been collecting. Plastic is the material of the modern age: synthetic, glowing, multicolored, cheap in its production and applicable to unlimited possible fields. The planet suffocates on that plastic. The synthetic material we produced from the beginning of the plastic age would be enough to wrap our globe with plastic foil six times. Southeast of Hawaii, a clockwise rotating accumulation of waste twice the size of Texas is floating in the ocean current, pulverizing into tiny particles, sponging up dangerous environmental toxins. Plankton is eating it and so we eat it through the fish in our food. We even absorb the harmful, carcinogenic and mutagenic bisphenol A directly through our milk cans, our yoghurt cups and kids toys.
That's terrible. But besides of it being cheap and the perfect material for all kinds of fields, besides all the waste we're creating with it what is it about plastic that fascinates you? It seems you've been hooked on it for quite some time before you started working on the sculptures?
We grew up with He-Man, very pink panthers, Marvel heroes and perhaps Pokémons casted in that attractive material. Girls rebuild a perfect women's world in their dollhouses and dress up their Barbie dolls. Boys build little Revell stealth bombers and try to own the fastest car or most terrifying creature in the sandbox. Without knowing, kids play with the symbols of capitalism, the glowing mascots of modern economy and the plastic they are made of seems to be the perfect emblematic material.
DK I see.
[Senior citizen swimming by]
Regarding the amount of images we're confronted with daily and the infinite image databases available to us I must say the effort of producing a painting appears comparatively enormous while the significance of the individual, original painting is shifting towards zero. How do you feel about painting?
I don't think painting is dead nor that it is unprogressive or behind our time because of other technical achievements. I also don't see anything wrong with copying from found footage and photos. I spend so much time on the motives that I start to feel as if they're mine afterwards, as if there's some process of appropriation taking place. Also their meaning and origin is being transformed; they’re no longer photos afterwards.
In other words: other methods might be more timely and less time-consuming but paintings just sell for higher prices?
SH In other words: painting is an act of consumption.
-- excerpt of the exhibition catalogue, Text by Dennis Knopf.