Andreas Emenius Interview
A Unique Creative Mind
Andreas Emenius makes for a unique creative mind, interested in the human condition where people could be described to be in a state of acute awareness, due to heightened senses. Swedish born Emenius is a graduate of the highly coveted Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design and today lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. Visualizing the pulsating energies given out by people and objects, to paint their gravity and movements, to paint the intangible and the temporary by harnessing the dominant sensation in this whirlwind, his imagery speaks universally and is not be bound to a specific experience. Emenius, one half of Vibskov & Emenius, the artistic collaboration together with danish designer Henrik Vibskov implementing "conversation inside a formal framework".
James Oliver: What is it that draws you, personally, to the Human condition?
Andreas Emenius: Our neurotic responses to the knowledge of our own mortality. I see my figures as heroic figures, becoming a vessel for these imperfections and contradictions: confident/nervous, trusting/jealous, balanced/paranoid, safe/vulnerable, brave/cowardly. Perfect doesn't interest me, it doesn't seem real enough, not possible.
Why are human kind dwelling over Brad Pitts grin and beautiful suit in Cannes? It's like we are collectively drunk, running around with a twisted smile worshipping something which is not real. Everything is a mess. We left the caves, full of good intentions, but lost our way. It's in this vacuum, opposite society's adoration of the superficial, I find my possibilities.
JO: Is the artistic outcome a manifestation of your personal experiences with this condition, or is it your intention to represent a wider audience?
AE: Swimming, forest, Coca Cola, movies, jokes, suburbs, London, Stone Roses, milk, loneliness, rave, north of Sweden, girls, politics, … Art as life, life as art. My work is filtered through my memories and physical/mental experiences and generalized through spontaneous actions in paintings, drawings and objects. I don't know what other people feel, If I am lucky my work becomes meaningful to them based on their personal projections.
JO: Your work zittern pferd (2012) was – at it's core - a study in movement, encompassing painting, dance, performance, film, cooking and music. What were your motives behind this display?
AE: Setting things in motion by clashing the various disciplines against each other, arranging them inside a locked room for a few hours. I wanted to challenge the idea of what a painting, a performance, or a theme can be. The event was also inspired by the Futurist idea that portrayal of movement enables an object to be viewed from various angels at the same time, making it appear more real. Acute awareness through movement? I choose to symbolize this idea with an image of a 'trembling horse', which translates 'zittern pferd' in German.
JO: You explain on your website that you attempt to visualize the pulsating energies given out by people and objects – a notion that translates well in your series Dreams and Denotations (2012). A point of interest with this exhibition is the inclusion of harnesses – are these symbolic of trying to control those above stated energies?
AE: The short answer is yes. There is a reference to a horse harness, reduced down in form, becoming a symbol for control. History, strength and attitude. Then again, that explanation is only a reference, the work is not ABOUT that, it's about something more incomplete, more open. When things are boiled down to an understandable definition, it looses it's balls and it's potential. It becomes safe, quasi meaning, pedagogical defined and boring. It needs the opening, the strangeness, to point towards something which is not meant to be understood. In that aspect my work aims to be science fiction, forever pointing towards the existence of a more intelligent being. Not towards a God, but towards the human potential.
JO: How does your solo work differ thematically from the projects you work on with Henrik Vibskov?
AE: My praxis is similar to the instinctive behavior of a scared cat, leaping off the ground, turning its ears to locate a possible threat. My work with Henrik is an experiment, thoughts as projects, inspired by man-kinds constant search for knowledge. Armstrong on the moon, Roald Amundsen's Antarctic expeditions, inventions, pushing forward…Then we create a conversation inside a formal framework, such as circles.
JO: Can you tell us a bit about how you began working with Henrik Vibskov and the synergy of working together?
AE: We meet in school, have similar hight, so when I moved to Copenhagen it seemed natural to work together on some small projects for a theater. Then it kind of grew from there. We both like to work quickly, throwing all the apples up in the air and decide which ones to catch before they hit the ground. Done.
JO: Who are the artists – past or present – who inspire your work?
AE: Carl Larsson, James Ensor, Baselitz (Hero Paintings), Picasso, Oscar Wilde, Umberto Boccionis, The Cure, Roald Amundsen, Michelangelo, early Renaissance work.
JO: Can you describe the concept of Section 6 and Section 7 and how the two will differ, compare and represent progression?
AE: There's too much logic in your question. All I can say is that the work we have done up till now will help produce the new work and the idea itself will eventually decide the media to work with.
JO: What direction do you want to go from here with your work? What ambitions do you have for the future?
AE: To try further to communicate what we all know already, but find difficult to explain.
JO: Finally, words to live by?
AE: Put your money where your mouth is.