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 Meese (b. 1970) is a German artist who works with paintings, sculptures, installations and performances. His works, which are often multi-media, include collages, drawings and writing. Meese's work is exhibited at prominent venues such as Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Saatchi Gallery in London and Kunsthalle Bielefeld. Moreover, he designs theatre sets and wrote as well as starred in the play 'De Frau: Dr. Poundaddylein - Dr. Ezodysseusszeusuzur' in 2007. Meese is based in Berlin and Hamburg.

For more about Jonathan Meese see: http://www.jonathanmeese.com/

Jonathan Meese was interviewed by Christian Lund in his studio in Berlin in February 2011.

Jonathan and Brigitte Meese were interviewed by Christian Lund at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard in Copenhagen, Denmark in 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

  • Karl Ove Knausgård

    On 'Madame Bovary'

    “This controlled perfection, that I usually don’t like, elevates it.” Karl Ove Knausgård – author of ‘My Struggle’ – here shares his love of the classic novel ‘Madame Bovary’ by Gustave Flaubert, which he has read three times at different stages of his life.

  • Günther Uecker

    Advice to the Young

    German artist Günther Uecker (b. 1930) – one of the most prominent members of the ZERO Group – here stresses the importance of not adhering to the conventions of society, but to follow one’s own voice: “Don’t rush to the guillotine, assert yourself first.”

  • Günther Uecker

    Poetry Made with a Hammer

    “We need images to cross the boundary of the unutterable.” The moving story of Günther Uecker – a legendary German artist, who expresses his artistic belief by means of a hammer and nails, thus reflecting his dark experiences from World War II.

  • Sambuichi

    Sun, Water and Air

    Travel through an enchanting sea of light and darkness orchestrated by the praised Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi. He here shares his thoughts behind the wondrous water and light installation set in an old underground water reservoir.

  • Orhan Pamuk

    Do Not Hope for Continuity

    “I ran away, but I returned, and I will continue to tell its story. It’s natural that I write about it because this is the best place I know.” Watch Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk in this interview about his relationship with Istanbul – now and then.

  • Mette Winckelmann

    Woman to Woman

    ”You must evaluate whether the system you’re part of could be effectuated differently.” Meet artist Mette Winckelmann, who believes that abstract painting communicates deeper than language, and explore her visual take on gender politics.

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Adam Caruso

    Novelty is nonsense

    "The European city is one of the great human inventions!” Adam Caruso advocates building with a deep sense of history and tradition. Meet the architect behind the award-winning Tate Britain conversion and numerous Gagosian galleries.

  • Thomas Hirschhorn

    A World of Collage

    Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn juxtaposes pixelated images from the media. His works are not about technology, says the artist: “I try to give form to what I can’t accept: that someone else can decide for me what I should do, see or think.”

  • Jonathan Safran Foer

    On Donald Trump

    Jonathan Safran Foer, star of American literature, offers interesting views on America’s new president and the consequences Trump will have on American culture. "The place for literature may be even more important than before," he says.

  • Dorte Mandrup

    Where Place Meets Sculpture

    Rising from the landscape in a place rich with materiality and history sits architect Dorte Mandrup’s new Wadden Sea Centre. Meet the renowned architect and see a building were “everything comes together.”