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

  • Daniel Lanois

    Advice to the Young

    “Should one be so lucky to find something they are good at, then pursue it with full passion, man.” Spot-on advice from one of the world’s most sought-after producers Daniel Lanois, who forwards wisdom from the legendary Brian Eno.

  • Joyce Carol Oates

    Speaking of the Devil

    “American history has a kind of tragic cyclical nature to it.” A thought-provoking interview with American writer Joyce Carol Oates, who ponders on how the concept of ‘devils’ has always been predominant in American society.

  • Klaus Rifbjerg

    A Little While Longer

    Klaus Rifbjerg (1931-2015) is one of the great masters of Danish literature. In this deeply personal and moving interview from 2013, the writer looks back on his life and literary career, reflecting on what it means to age – and to die.

  • Lars Norén

    Advice to the Young

    Lars Norén is widely regarded as the greatest contemporary Swedish playwright. We paid him an exclusive visit at his apartment in Stockholm to hear his advice for aspiring writers.

  • Günter Grass

    Writing Against the Wall

    "I realized it was through language that I could define myself as a German." Meet Nobel Prize laureate Günter Grass (1927-2015) in this interview, which was to be one of his last, where he reflects on his life, literary work and political engagement.

  • 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.

  • Einar Már Gudmundsson

    I Believe in the Question Mark

    Icelandic author and European intellectual Einar Már Gudmundsson – a widely known social commentator – muses on how storytelling has always played an important role in Icelandic society manifesting history and keeping memory alive.

  • Wangechi Mutu

    On The End of eating Everything

    Kenyan-born artist Wangechi Mutu, whom we met in her Brooklyn studio, here discusses her powerful animated short film ‘The End of eating Everything’ – a strong comment on how we disrespect the earth in our contemporary culture.

  • Ian McEwan

    On Spies

    British writer Ian McEwan shares amusing insider information about the British intelligence agency MI5 and MI6, which was given to him by the legendary author of espionage novels and former spy, John le Carré.

  • Junot Díaz

    Second-Person is Unbearable

    “For the record, your mother’s breasts are immensities, one of the wonders of the world.” Dominican American Junot Díaz gives a hilarious reading of a bawdy extract from his Pulitzer Prize winning novel ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’.

  • 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.