Serial Optimist gets more artist submissions than I can count each day, and when we choose to feature one, it’s not just because we like the art, it’s because of the words and passion in which the artist speaks. Featuring artists from other countries is always a highlight, maybe because their English isn’t that great mixed with the descriptive madness of how they describe their work. Meet German artist Andreas Nitschke, a “modern corpse-robber but with a very human background.” How could we ignore someone with such an ardent description of himself? We couldn’t. Read on to see a curated selection of the artists’ favorite collages and a conversation that is at the very least… strange and entertaining.
Serial Optimist: Can you give me a bit of an artist statement?
Andreas Nitschke: I want to exploit photos! Collages give me the opportunity to transfer photographs by very simple means into a new context. It’s a form of recycling and revitalization.
Often I hear that my work seems grotesque, that my Collage-Faces look like Kafkaesque bastards. But I don’t want this label “adults only!”
Obviously I don’t illustrate children’s books… but I also don’t want to create sheer monsters.
Perhaps I am a modern corpse-robber but with a very human background. (Yes, in your mind: a serial optimist, not a serial killer.)
My intention is very philanthropic: I steal from magazine pictures – without blinkers – all these body parts and reuse them for my hand-made work to show how we can be as humans: full of contradictions, sometimes controversial, sometimes nasty but always vulnerable. I hope some of my work has a bit of a toxic effect although they are so small and childish.
SO: What things inspire you as an artist?
Andreas: When I started to deal with art I was inspired by the paintings of David Salle, I liked his side-by-side-effects, his simultaneously meanings. A style that is very close to collages. In addition I was – in my beginnings – fascinated by the rude and insulting view of Gottfried Helnwein an his disrespectful and bizarre attitude towards ugliness. Perhaps my view of found photographs is a little reminiscence to his work.
But also music was very inspiring to my work. It’s another medium – like a DJ creates a remix, a sound collage, I use the same principles to make my collages.
Nothing is sacred! Second-hand-photographs from contemporary magazines or pulp-fanzines, fast food for the eyes… I use everything. It’s the out-of-the-box-thinking of the punk culture that is very close to my work, too.
SO: At what point in your life did you know this is what you wanted to pursue?
Andreas: During my studies in fine art I have painted and made three-dimensional objects, but this was too wasteful for me, I wanted it more immediate and spontaneous, I want to react more genuine and unsophisticated to the pictures and photographs I see every day. I remembered that I had made collages as a teenager.
Contributed to the fact that in Germany many new magazines with great fresh photos came on the newspaper market in the last 10 years, I was able to react faster with my collages to this picture-phenomenon as if I only span a new canvas or mix colors.
SO: Where do you live and how is the art scene there?
Andreas: I’m from Germany and the art-scene, especially the collage-scene seems very awake and unspent, and there are a lot of artists, bloggers and exhibitions that deal with it.
I live and work in Bielefeld, not just a big city like Berlin or Hamburg, but a remarkable number of young and fresh off-galleries and places come out of the ground like mushrooms in the last years where art and music, high and low, was mixed.
SO Note: Check out more of Andreas Nitschke at andreasnitschke.com. All images owned by Andreas and may not be reproduced.