Jonathan Meese & his mother

Jonathan Meese & his mother

Mommy and Me are Animals

German artist & enfant terrible Jonathan Meese is interviewed with the most important person in the world – his 84 year old mother, Brigitte Meese. The two have worked together for 44 years, if you include the years before he became an artist.

You would have to look at long time to find a more endearing, odd couple than Meese and his mother. They seem in many ways to be complete opposites, yet their mutual love and respect has shaped a very fruitful environment for creating art. As Jonathan Meese explains: “When you love somebody you shout!”

Art is a family business, according to Jonathan Meese, who has lived with his mother all his life. Meese describes his art, and the space he creates for himself as “anti-reality”: A utopian future without parliaments. A place where play is master, and humans are free of ideology, politics or religion, living with full passion.

Brigitte Meese describes Jonathan Meese as a dreamer, who used to have no idea what he wanted to do, and explains that she was simply glad when he finally found a passion for something. Brigitte Meese also tells us what she thinks about Jonathan Meese's special brand of art: “I am 84 years old, and I was educated in the tradition of older art. I now got used to contemporary art: Some of it I like, some of it I don't understand. But I work for 'The Case'.” She supports Jonathan Meese in creating his things, helps sort out his collection of items, and assists him when he plays with it.

Jonathan Meese and his mother do agree on some things though – for instance that Jonathan Meese takes energy out of his stomach and puts it onto the canvas. Jonathan Meese explains: “It's evolution, it's playing – but afterwards comes the words. We belong here, because we are animals: Biting away reality. That is my aim! Reality is shit, art is super!”

Jonathan and Brigitte Meese were interviewed at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard by Christian Lund, January 2014.

Cover photograph by: Jan Bauer
Camera: Lea Hjort Mathiesen
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Jeff Wall

    We are all Actors

    An enjoyable and philosophical conversation between the pioneering Canadian photographer Jeff Wall and Belgian Wall expert Thierry de Duve about how Wall works with people, places and variations of beauty.

  • Jeff Wall

    Pictures Like Poems

    Discover what inspires and motivates one of the modern masters of photography, Canadian Jeff Wall, who here discusses a selection of his impressive photographs and their often meticulous compositions.

  • Three Artists

    On a Spider by Louise Bourgeois

    A ginormous 30 feet high spider would scare the life out of most of us. In this video three artists share their diverse feelings towards the spider sculpture made by French artist Louise Bourgeois – as a tribute to her mother.

  • Klara Hobza

    On Diving Through Europe

    In her grand art endeavor ‘Diving Through Europe’, Berlin-based Klara Hobza investigates the boundaries of what is conceivable by diving the European rivers, stretching from the North Sea to the Black Sea in the course of 20-30 years.

  • Tomas Tranströmer

    The Music Says Freedom Exists

    We visited the Nobel Prize laureate Tomas Tranströmer in his home in Stockholm. Tranströmer's poetry is closely related to music. In 1991 he suffered a stroke, which deprived him of his speaking abilities but not his writing. And he still plays the piano.

  • Jannis Kounellis

    Gray is the Color of Our Time

    Take a look behind Greek artist Jannis Kounellis’ raw and powerful work: “There’s no distance between me and the dialogue established years ago, which sees man as the centre. That’s what compels me to create art all the time, every day.”

  • Meriç Algün Ringborg

    Absurd Questions

    ‘Have you ever been declared judicially incompetent?’ Turkish artist Meriç Algün Ringborg uses her own surreal experience as an immigrant in her challenging art, which confronts the bureaucracy of immigration.

  • Chimamanda Adichie

    Beauty does not Solve any Problem

    I am drawn to the beauty of sentences, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie confesses in this interview. Nevertheless it is important to keep a distance to your characters.

  • Alfredo Jaar

    Images are not Innocent

    "A million people were killed in 100 days under the criminal indifference of the world". In this interview artist Alfredo Jaar reminds us of the importance of images and why they are not innocent.

  • Alaa al-Aswany

    Tribute to the Woman

    Best-selling Egyptian novelist Alaa al-Aswany is at no loss for words when it comes to expressing his high regard for women: “I believe that there are more heroines than heroes – both in literature and in life.” Watch his interesting reasons.

  • Wangechi Mutu

    Cultural Cutouts

    Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu uses her colourful artwork to confront the missing attention to black women within society: “It’s kind of an ironic thing that I’m producing that image out of the very lack of it.”

  • Margaret Atwood

    On the Planet of Speculative Fiction

    Experience award-winning Canadian writer Margaret Atwood in this humorous and vivid conversation about her works of elaborate ‘speculative fiction’, and how reality and science fiction are in fact inextricably intertwined.