Vincent Gootzen (born in Tegelen/Netherlands) is an artist focussing on sculpture and painting. Besides a lot of international experience from traveling Vincent has a permanent studio in the Netherlands as well as in Germany. In this Interview Vincent answers our questions regarding Germany and the Netherlands as a location as well as his working process.
(gt) Vincent, you were born and raised in the Netherlands, what made you cross the boarder to Germany to open your studio in Duesseldorf?
(vg) Skateboarding created my first longer stay in Germany. After my first four years of studying at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts (1994-1998) I was kind of fed up with the educational system of the Academy and felt like letting go. Around the same time I got offered contracts from several companies for my skateboarding so I picked up that chance and dropped out of the Academy. After residencies in Berlin and Cologne I ended up having a base in Duesseldorf. One of my main sponsors (carhartt) had an office in Duesseldorf and I liked the nearby situation with the Netherlands. The following three years I travelled around the world participating in skateboarding contests, being photographed and filmed. In 2001 I though felt the urge to go back to the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and a two year period of studies followed with a bachelor of arts in 2003. Having a relationship to Germany through skateboarding I decided to go back to Duesseldorf in 2003.
(gt) How would you describe your perspective on your cross-boarder position and how does it affect you?
(vg) In my eyes it doesn’t really matter where you are. I guess I’m a classical studio artist in a way who needs a base where he works and sets up stuff. Right now I have two of these locations. One in Roermond (Netherlands) and the other in Duesseldorf (Germany). As we speak I feel I can set up everything that seems important to me in these two spaces though at the same time I wouldn’t say I’ll stay there forever. But yeah sure I think all the decisions I made and my given background shaped me into the person I am today. I don’t use it directly in my visual work but for sure in a subconscious way it’s got to be in there somewhere.
(gt) What is your opinion towards the differences of German and Dutch art scene?
(vg) Well, who once said don’t speak out on the issue if you know shit about it? I can’t be really bothered by either the Dutch or the German (or any other) art market and as said I know less about it since I don’t really spend any time trying to get involved too much. I can’t relate to it and it has nothing to do with autonomous arts in my eyes. I don’t approach any galleries with my works neither do I visit any art fairs. Also as an artist I don’t need the confirmation of a gallery representing my works neither my works need to be showcased on any fairs. This is not a goal to me. I guess I prefer continuing living and working on my “island”. It doesn’t sound logic and I guess this is what I like about it and seems healthy to me for now. Time will tell.
(gt) Recently we met at your exhibtion in the Oel-Früh Gallery in Hamburg your first exhibition outside NRW. What are your further plans in Germany?
(vg) On July 7th I will undertake a performance with artist Sary under the wing of TV ME at the single club 24 hours project at the Raketenstation Insel Hombroich in Neuss, Germany (for more information on this feel free to check the following www.single-club.in). Besides my more “static” visual work I’m also interested in channeling my thoughts and feelings with the media of sound and movement.
(gt) In your sculptures the compilation of material is very diverse. What kind of substance do you prefer and what makes you choose it?
(vg) Good feeling coming from the stomach. Though when looking back at my body of works I sense that there’s a red line, as far as the ingredients go, I end up using. Mostly it is found industrial mass produced everyday materials/objects that already have a history of their own. Changing the context of something always seems to be playing a role in the process of my position I follow.
(gt) Speaking about your work, your scultpures are often attached to the room where they develop their impression. Would you say the room forms the installation or the installation forms the room?
(vg) If i set up a site specific installation i try to achieve interaction. Each space has it’s own characteristics and basically what I do is emphasize that what’s already present on location. mostly these are common things available in the space like a neon light bar or the present raw architecture. I set it up and combine it with found material i gather in the studio or this could also be totally just something I find on the streets near the exhibition space.
(gt) You do a lot of painting as well, do you have any preference towards a particular media?
(vg) No. If the position that i follow requires a three dimensional translation I’ll hit it. The other way around if I feel it makes sense I’ll leave it as a two dimensional piece. It can start as a two-dimensional work and at a later stadium it can totally happen that I’ll cut it and a piece of it can be found in another sculpture or site specific installation. One thing does not exclude the other. My exhibitions consist of a variety of media combined. It also happens that a piece being showcased in an exhibition will be further developed in the next one. I think I try to put a question mark towards a so called end result. I’m more interested in the process. I don’t know where it’s going or what i’m looking for but there are in between situations in the process of development that surprise myself which i think is important.
(gt) So, how would you describe the connection between your paintings and your scultpture?
(vg) All is one.
Feel free to visit www.vincentgootzen.com for further information on works and biography.