Artist of the Week

Andreas Blank

December 1, 2014

Andreas Blank was born in Germany and now lives and works in London/Berlin.

AndreasHow has living in Berlin affected your art practice? I moved from London to Berlin a year ago. Sometimes I think that since I’ve been spending more time in Berlin, my work has become more emotional and expressive. When I look back at the time I was mainly based in London, it seems like my work was much more conceptual and method-oriented.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? I had a conversation with an artist friend recently; we talked about the five things it takes to make a good show: Life, death, fear, sexuality and time.

Monument 4 (2008), 35 x 27 x 13 cm. marble, basalt, alabaster
Monument 4 (2008), 35 x 27 x 13 cm. marble, basalt, alabaster

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? A few weeks ago I was involved in an exhibition as a curator and a participating artist. We realized a site-specific exhibition with 28 artists in a Berlin building which was once a dance theatre, and had remained closed and unchanged since WWII.

Six weeks ago I had a solo show at Gallery Christian Ehrentraut titled The Imprint of the Space Someone Used.

What artists are you interested in right now? I am currently interested in conceptual artists like London-based Ian Kiar and Martin Creed. I also appreciate the work of the German photographers Thomas Demand, Andreas Gursky and Thomas Ruff and the Polish painter Wilhelm Sasnal. Generally I tend to be interested in artists who attempt to develop different parallel visual languages that exist within one medium.

Box with Military Boots (2010),  56 x 55 x 38,5 cm. limestone, serpentinite
Box with Military Boots (2010), 56 x 55 x 38,5 cm. limestone, serpentinite

What are you reading right now? A book that has been relevant to me for years is The Cultivated Wilderness: Or, What is Landscape?  by Paul Shepheard, an architect who lives in London. He describes changes in landscapes that take place through civilization’s interferences with nature, for instance stones being removed from mountains, trees being felled, and churches, houses and cities being built from them. I feel very connected to this book because it describes similar processes of movement and time as those that inform my work. In Shepheard’s words: “This book is about seeing things that are too big to see.”

Any current or upcoming shows we should know about? At the moment a selection of older and new works are on view in the group show Objects in a Room at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin until January 11. The show outlines the transitions of material into objects.

Untitled (2013). 80 x 39 x 30 cm.  alabaster, marble, slate
Untitled (2013). 80 x 39 x 30 cm. alabaster, marble, slate

Describe your current studio or workspace. Right now I have two studios where I work on my sculptures. In Berlin I have a big workshop with some other sculptors, where I realize large projects, and I also have a studio in the countryside in the south of Germany on a farm, where I develop many of my ideas and spend a few days every month.

What were you like in high school? I sort of had a special status back in high school. I was very active as a musician and had the reputation of being a slightly crazy composer. I was allowed to skip a lot of classes and spend time composing songs with our school band instead.

Later at art school, I was the only student who worked with stone. During my studies in London, I had to work in a wood cabin in the courtyard because the college no longer had a stone workshop. So, at the Royal College I again had a special position—one that was also quite isolated—but I felt that was a good initial situation.

´Shadows of words spoken´(2010). Installation View, Gallery Christia Ehrentraut
´Shadows of words spoken´(2010). Installation View, Gallery Christia Ehrentraut

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? As a student I received a public sculpture commission and built a bus stop next to a forest in the middle of nowhere. There wasn’t even a street that led there. A stone suitcase was set up next to two long benches in the bus stop. In the months after I installed the work, hikers made frequent calls to the police reporting that they had found a suspicious black, heavy Samsonite suitcase that needed to be picked up.