KAIR Artist Interviews 2018 – Pat van Boeckel and Karin van der Molen
Thank you very much for your time!
The following interview was recorded and transcribed as faithfully as possible and with minimal editing so as to preserve the fragile emotional states of all the Artists. Spoken English rather than written English is the aim..
Why did you apply for the Kamiyama Artist in Residence program (the first time)?
Pat: Japan! Japan! Japan!
Karin: It just seemed like an impossible goal to ever reach Japan. The call for applicants just sounded so nice so I just tried. It was actually the second time I tried for an 'artist in residence'
Pat: I didn't apply I was just assistant. Now I'm fully invited (as Artist in Residence) and I'm very proud of this and I hope I didn't disappoint anybody. If I was going to choose a residency again, I would definitely choose Kamiyama. The main thing is that you get really close to the people. There is no organisation, there is no official institution that is like friends.
How do you feel in Kamiyama?
K: I'm afraid this will be too positive! But.. I feel very good here. The first time was so romantic because you know, everything was new so we were a little afraid when we were invited for the second time that it wouldn't be as nice because your expectations are too high. But actually, it turned out wonderful.
P: We were discussing this morning, that we could stay longer but actually this is hard work, so if you extend maybe you would get distracted. This is really quality time in my life.
Describe your work in one word.
P: Mine is dream. Fairytale dream. Dream.
K: It's a little bit tricky. I would say harmony.
What is the most frightening experience you have ever had?
P: With life? Not with art? With life? You go first Karin. Was it meeting me?! Actually, I can tell you. I got held up at gunpoint. Someone put a pistol on me in Zimbabwe when I was too radical about South Africa. A South African military man was also in the youth hostel and he was drunk and he came with a pistol and said 'You take your words back!'. That was pretty scary for me.
(Me: Did you take your words back??)
Yes!! Totally! Immediately! I love South Africa! No problem! No problem!!
K: I don't know if it was the scariest but it was scary. Ok. I got locked in the museum of Grenada, in Spain, by the museum director. First he pretended to show me the museum then.. I was very young so.. after 10 minutes or so I understood his intentions were.. different! But in the end I escaped. Nothing happened, but it was quite scary yeah.
What is your favourite Japanese food?
K: Okonomiyaki! Yeah.
How did you realise you wanted to be an artist?
K: So. Actually it's a romantic story. It's actually when I met Pat. At that time I had just finished my studies as a human rights laywer. And then, Pat, after one week after I met him, he gave me a box of paint and he said 'You know what, it's much more interesting to have a life as an artist!' That's more more or less how it started.
P: I remember I was making a trip in Africa, in Tanzania, and a guy with a camera came along. It was Super 8mm still and he could zoom in and out. I was so fascinated that I didn't shoot things but the whole day I was using it so I thought Well, I'll make a documentary. And then, I saw a film from Tarkovsky and then I thought this is what.. this is is my goal. So in that way I started film and then growing from there. That was when I was 18 in Africa, and I saw the film one year later. I didn't understand the film but I was fascinated. Tarkovsky is also using dreams a lot.
Do you have a particular technique/style?
K: I would say I don't. Er.. usually I don't like to make something twice.. So I use a lot of different materials. The funny thing is.. I don't think I really have a style but other people maybe see it better than me. I just follow my.. It's also because I work mainly site specific so I try to be inspired by the place; it's history or the nature or things like that and then it changes for each site. I'm not somebody who brings his trick everywhere!
P: The difference with painting and objects is you don't have.. the attraction of time. I really like time. I can get somebody and I can use time and you can tell a story with time. I really love the work I made now because you have to walk around and it becomes a real time experience and that connects with dreams and I hope it connects with your own inner world. I hope it makes people recognise that and see my work as a dream style work that connects to your own world but not like a statement.
What is the most difficult thing about making art?
K: To know when it is finished. And to have this.. I don't know.. Sometimes you make something that you think 'This is really good. This is what I want', but you can never repeat it. You cannot force it. You cannot forcibly make a good artwork. It depends on so many things and the least important thing is probably yourself. You can't replicate the circumstances.
P: Yeah for me is the same. It's like you open up, if you really open up what's deep inside, and you are very fragile, vulnerable. And then you show it, even when I show it to Karin and she doesn't like it.. it's hard. It's difficult. That's sometimes the best part of art, but also it's sometimes the most painful.
If you were the size of an ant for one month, what would you do?
P: I would crawl in places I couldn't go now. That's for sure.
K: Maybe I'd just climb a tree.
P: I'd go inside somewhere. I can climb a tree now, so I'd go inside somewhere and go in and see the secrets of life.
What is the worst thing you’ve ever made?
K: I've made several! But the worst.. the worst thing probably that I made was a cloud out of aluminium sheets and the double worst part of it was that after I made it I couldn't move my arm for a half a year. After that, it went to the garbage. It was bad!
P: I'm still thinking. I can erase a lot of things! The thing that is troubling is that what people like I start to like more myself, so I'm not free in my own opinion!! Do you remember what..
P: Of course I made a lot of documentaries..
K: What about The Curse of Pablov? I made a feature film and I was still crying when it was finished but nobody liked it! But I still like it. I'm really thankful that I made this film. I made a lot of documentaries also, 5 years of them before art..
K: No. 10..
P: 10? Installations.. maybe it'll come up later but..
K: Pat always has very positive memories!
P: I forget the bad things!
What do you think about this ham?
K: It's just terrible. For me it's just terrible. You know, I already have my doubts about eating meat but then making it look like a joke?! Or like funny meat?! It's like over the top.
P: Yeah, I think eating meat you should respect the animal and it should look like the animal that is to be eaten. The animal doesn't like it, but you can do it respectfully. You make it too human.. That's my first reaction.
What do you dislike about your work?
P: Being vulnerable
K: The thin line between good and so so, the uncertainty after conceiving the first idea and then…
What is the worst piece of advice you have ever been given?
P: To tell Karin to start painting! In art or in life? Stop doing art..? … The worst piece of advice someone gave me…
K: Ah, I know! It was to study law. Maybe partly my school and my parents.. because I didn't really know what to do. I wanted to become a midwife which was also not.. you know.. my life fulfilling something but..
P: I don't know! I've never taken bad advice I've been given! I don't know.. I'm too arrogant to take any advice! Advice that I followed or..? Once I made a documentary and someone said 'You are too young to make this documentary because it's for older people'. I also made a documentary in a religious atmosphere and they said 'You should never make a religious documentary if you're not religious yourself'. I found it.. yeah ridiculous. There's some truth but I didn't follow the advice.
What is the best smell?
P: My own! Because you don't smell it. It's so interesting that you don't.. you're not disgusted about your own smell.
K: Your farts or something..
P: Your farts or anything and you don't smell it. When I start smelling myself I know it's really bad for the rest of the world!! Still I'm no problem!!
K: I like the smell after rain, outside. And also I like very much the smell when they cut the grass for hay. Yeah, it's just a very short time in Summer that you smell it.
Who inspires you?
K: Maybe art-wise, lately, although I've known her longer, Marina Abramović. Some things about her.. because, I don't know the English word. It's not like being arrogant but like being forward or something. Like not being afraid for new things or just pass borders. Yeah, that I find inspiring about her. I mean, not so much you always have to use your own body or things like that.
If you lived in Kamiyama forever what would you do?
K: Yeah, I've been wondering about that! I don't have the right answer.. What I would like the most but it would probably be very hard to make a living is just go on with art. But probably that is just wishful thinking. That would be my ideal, to move to Kamiyama and just go on with the same things I'm doing now. So have a studio and make things and travel.
P: Yeah, one thing is most important in Kamiyama: that is that I will make art. I definitely will make art, if it's not possible I will move on. I see art as kind of life. Life fulfilling or (a way) to understand life. You live one time. I think it is a very good place but we like to see other things so why not a base in Kamiyama? Yeah, art..
K: I have an idea but maybe a stupid idea but.. my father is still alive and quite healthy so if I had no family ties like that I would feel free to move.
P: And I would join the volunteer firemen!
K: You would? You'd have to get up on Sunday morning at 4!
P: Ah but you've got to do something for this community Karin!
K Ok! Yeah right!
What is your weakness?
P: I know.
K: You know mine you mean?!
P: Her weakness is she cannot be an assistant. What's my weakness?
K: He always wants to be in control.
P: Exactly! But she wants to be in control also! Only I can be an assistant and I she can't.
K: Ok, that's true yeah.
P: I want to be in control but.. and I really like to work fast and not secure. I really like to do it quick.
K: Yeah that's maybe something both of us have. We try to make our weak points into our strong points. Pat does everything a little bit too fast.
P: Too.. fast?
K: But on the other hand, you know, he can build a whole exhibition in 10 days.
(and then have time to help Karin??)
By the way, can you do something with this hula hoop please?
Thank you again! And see you again soon!
Other Artist Interviews
Strijdom van der Merwe
Itoi-san - Kanuma soil. Likes salmon sashimi, dislikes entrails of sea cucumber. Ru-san - Lancashire hotpot. Creative type. Likes being outdoors. Dislikes status. Together we are ITOI ARTS a project in divergent creativity in the mountains of Shikoku, Japan. 四国の山奥、多様な創作、アートとは。 //イベント時のみオープン// \\ふだんはただの家//Articles by itoi+ru-san
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