Riad Sattouf

“I like to show that when people think they have a destiny, sometimes it’s just stupid things that decide life.” At the age of two, Sattouf made a drawing of a man, which his grandmother praised to the sky, thinking it was the French President Pompidou. This sparked his belief in his drawing abilities, and Sattouf is amused by the fact that it was “a vision of admiration” that decided his whole life, and that he might as well have become a chef if his grandmother had praised his cooking.

Puzzled by the strange fact that all writers of horror, fantasy or science fiction seemed to never have Arabic names, Sattouf decided that he wouldn’t be restricted in such a way: “I wanted to be a guy with an Arabic name who makes science fiction for example.” However, when the civil war broke out in Syria, he wanted to convey his troubles with the French administration when trying to help his Syrian family and to do so, he had to tell the story from the beginning – and so he began ‘The Arab of the Future’.

“I wanted to not judge the characters, and to show them with their inner paradox.” The story is from a child’s point of view, and Sattouf found that many of his childhood memories were of sound, taste and smell, which was important for him to convey: “I wanted to make it emotionally understandable by anybody.” The main character is his father, who was from a poor background in Syria but succeeded in becoming a doctor in France, and the graphic memoir deals with Sattouf’s childhood fascination of him – for better or worse. As a result, people have very different perceptions of his father when reading the book: “It’s exactly what I wanted – each person sees in the character a part of maybe himself.”

Riad Sattouf (b. 1978) is a French cartoonist, comics artist and film director of Franco-Syrian origin. Sattouf became widely known for the praised on-going graphic memoir ‘The Arab of the Future – A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984’ and ‘The Arab of the Future 2 – A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984-1985’ (L’Arabe du future) (2014-15), first of which won the 2015 Fauve d’Or Prize for best graphic novel. Sattouf has also written and directed the award-winning film ‘Les Beaux Gosses’ (The French Kissers) (2009). Sattouf worked for the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo from 2004-2014. He lives and works in France.

Riad Sattouf was interviewed by Christian Lund at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in October 2017.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

Joyce Pensato

“Don’t be so harsh with yourself with criticism from others.” Pensato passes advice along from a former art teacher, who encouraged her not to wait before showing her work, because nothing is going to happen if you just keep your work to yourself: “Be in the throes of everything. It’s part of the process.”

Joyce Pensato (b. 1941) is an American Brooklyn-born-raised-and-based artist. She paints large-scale likenesses of cartoon characters and comic-book heroes, using a technique, which results in alternately humorous and sinister imagery. Characters such as Batman, The Simpsons, South Park and Mickey Mouse are situated in troubling psychological states and indeterminate spaces and painted almost exclusively in black and white enamel. Solo exhibitions include Kunstraum Innsbruck, Petzel Gallery in New York City and Santa Monica Museum of Art. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Dallas Museum of Art, St. Louis Art Museum and the FRAC des Pays de la Loire. Pensato has won numerous awards including the Award of Merit Medal for Painting (2012), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award (1997) and the Guggenheim Fellowship (1996).

Joyce Pensato was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen at her studio in Brooklyn, New York City in July 2017.

Images shown in the video: Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

Ulay

The German artist, who has created works for almost half a century, has a very simple recipe for performance art: you need a location, a date, a time – and an audience: “You are terribly prepared and then you enter your own mental physical space, and you do what you have to do.” Collaborating with Marina Abramović (from 1976 to 1988), the two even promised each other that they would perform even if there were no audience, and Ulay goes on to comment that “if you have the pretension and the ambition to do something for an audience, then don’t kiss their asses.” When you perform, you must hold back at least 30 per cent in order to make the audience long for more.

“You cannot separate my life from art.” Ulay is furthermore grateful that he is able to communicate and pass on the common thread of his nearly 50 years of life and art experience to his audience, which consists mostly of young people.

Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen, b. 1943) is a German artist, now based in Amsterdam, Holland, and Ljubljana, Slovenia. Ulay received international recognition for his work as a photographer, mainly in Polaroid, from the late 1960s, and later as a performance artist, including his collaborative performances with Marina Abramović from 1976 to 1988. His work has continuously dealt with politics, identity and gender. In 2016 Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany, held the first major retrospective show of his work ‘Ulay Life-Sized’. In recent years Ulay’s work has also been on show at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam and GNYP Gallery in Berlin. Ulay’s work, as well as his collaborative work with Marina Abramović, is featured in many collections of major art institutions around the world such as Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Tate Modern in London and Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Ulay was interviewed by Christian Lund in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in July 2017.

Cameras: Primoz Korosec
Edited by: Roxanne Bageshirin Lærkesen
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

George Condo

“It’s such a mad, crazy world these days, that everybody I draw is kind of a lunatic,” says Condo as he draws “the nude bus driver” with a drink and a woman, who serves as “a nice contrast to the lunatic.”

George Condo (b. 1957) is an American contemporary visual artist working in the mediums of painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. Condo mixes input from art history’s masters – such as Velasquez, Manet and Picasso – with elements of American Pop Art. He distorts and renews this material so that it stands out and becomes his own: a kind of strange hybrid that blurs boundaries between the comic and the tragic, the grotesque and the beautiful, the classic and the innovative. As part of the wild art scene in New York in the early 1980s, Condo was close to painters such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, and worked for Andy Warhol’s Factory, applying diamond dust to silkscreen. Condo’s work is in the permanent collections of MoMA, the Whitney Museum, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles, Tate Gallery in London, Centre George Pompidou in Paris and Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo, among others. He is the recipient of an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1999) and the Francis J. Greenberger Award (2005). Condo lives and works in New York City.

George Condo was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg at his studio in Soho, New York City in September 2017.

The drawing that Condo makes is ‘The Bus Driver’s Dream’ (2017). The painting that he refers to at the end of the video is ‘Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe’, originally titled ‘Le Bain’ (The Bath) (1962-1863) by French painter Édouard Manet.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

Ulay

“From early on I liked to revolt.” Being a “half-orphan” war child, born in the ashes of World War II in an air-raid shelter in Solingen, West Germany, at the age of 25 Ulay took his life in his own hands and joined the provos in Amsterdam. In the early 70s he invented the term "performance photography," taking Polaroid photos of himself performing in front of the camera, often dressed up in women’s clothes. Feeling attracted to society’s outcasts he lived in Amsterdam among transvestites, homeless and marginal existences "sharing the camera," in order to “bridge the relation between the photographer and the model.”

After many series of “auto-polaroids,” Ulay came to the conclusion that the answer to his identity search was to question the surface of photography by going under his own skin. “Photography can only stay on the periphery of things, if I look for my genetics or my identity, I have to go under my skin.” Ulay started to cut, pierce and tattoo his own body bringing it at the center of his work, which culminated in the work 'GEN.E.T.RATION ULTIMA RATIO' (1972), where a piece of Ulay's own skin was transplanted and framed as a paraphrase of the German expression “to sell one’s skin to the market.”

Starting out as a pioneering photographer on “identity search,” Ulay wanted to infuse “life” into the art world, by pushing the boundaries for his “anarchistic" practice. One of Ulay’s most radical works is called ’There is a Criminal Touch to Art’ (1976), where the artist steals Hitler’s favorite painting – made by Carl Spitzweg – at the New National Gallery in Berlin "to stir up a discussion about how immigrants were treated."

“Art needed life, it needed a living”. In the mid-70s Ulay’s exploration of the body led to the historic relationship with performance artist Marina Abramović who he worked and lived with between 1976 and 1988. From the beginning of the 90s until the present Ulay has continued his exploration of the photographic medium still using himself as a tool and target of his artistic search.

Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen, b. 1943) is a German artist, now based in Amsterdam, Holland, and Ljubljana, Slovenia. Ulay received international recognition for his work as a photographer, mainly in Polaroid, from the late 1960s, and later as a performance artist, including his collaborative performances with Marina Abramović from 1976 to 1988. His work has continuously dealt with politics, identity and gender. In 2016 Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany, held the first major retrospective show of his work ‘Ulay Life-Sized’. In recent years Ulay’s work has also been on show at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam and GNYP Gallery in Berlin. Ulay’s work, as well as his collaborative work with Marina Abramović, is featured in many collections of major art institutions around the world such as Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Tate Modern in London and Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Ulay was interviewed by Christian Lund in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in July 2017.

Cameras: Primoz Korosec
Edit: Roxanne Bageshirin Lærkesen
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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Louisiana Channel is a non-profit website based at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark. With Louisiana Channel as a platform, Louisiana supplies culture to the Net that extends beyond the museum’s own events. The Louisiana team produces videos about art and culture on an ongoing basis, and new videos are posted at the site every week.

About Us

Louisiana Channel is a non-profit website based at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark. With Louisiana Channel as a platform, Louisiana supplies culture to the Net that extends beyond the museum’s own events. The Louisiana team produces videos about art and culture on an ongoing basis, and new videos are posted at the site every week.