Interviews

Cloud and Tears: an Interview with Michael Sailstorfer

2 weeks ago

On the occasion of his upcoming solo show at Proyectos Monclova, I interviewed German artist Micheal Sailstorfer to get some more details about the artworks he is showcasing at the gallery and to discover more about his art and practice.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Let’s start from the exhibition you’re having at the gallery. Which are the artworks you are presenting and how did you start your collaboration with the gallery?

Micheal Sailstorfer: Some time ago the gallery contacted me and came by my studio in Weißensee, Berlin. After a great first meeting I came for a visit to see their gallery space in Mexico City and we started planning our first show right away. For my exhibition I will show a selection of new works from my mask series – sculptures of masks made of aluminum, bronze or iron that are characterized by reduced stylistic features. The models of the masks were first constructed out of cardboard, then cast in a sand-casting process in the relevant metal. In between these masks a “solar cat”, which is a cast-aluminum sculpture of a wildcat sitting in the rafters and reaching its eyes closed toward a neon light, meditating and absorbing the energy of the light.  I will also show “Zeit ist keine Autobahn – Mexico” – a car tire, connected to a motorized engine that spins against the white gallery wall slowly wearing down the rubber of the tire. The video work “Tränen” plays with weight, gravity and lightness. In it iron teardrops damage an old house in the Bavarian countryside. I will also show the work “Clouds” which is an installation of large black clouds made of looped truck tire innertubes.

C.I: Your art deals with the idea that human being has not necessarily control on nature, you question the relationship between man and environment. Could you tell us more about this idea and do you translate this into your art?

M.S: I see in my work more of an exploration of the connection between man and environment or a contrast between nature and humans. For example in my works “Waldputz” and “Schwarzwald” it’s about men creating an individual, artificial space in the existent nature and about the conflicts that emerge from that. In both works nature is transformed into geometrical spaces – in one case from removing parts of nature, in the other case in coloring a certain area.

C.I: You mainly work with sculpture, video, and site specific intervention. Could you tell us about the creative process of your artwork? Where did you take inspiration from?

M.S: My works are mostly developed specifically for each exhibition site or space. I always start with a site visit and then realize an idea special to the space.
Everyday life is my primary inspiration.

C.I: How is your typical day as an artist? How does your studio look like?

M.S:  When I’m not traveling, I work from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm in my studio. But besides from that there is no typical day. Mostly it’s about finding new solutions to pieces I am working on. My studio is an old film studio from the 1920’s, which I love for its high ceilings and beautiful light. I’ve been there for 12 years.

C.I: What’s next? Are you working on any new project?

M.S:  I’m always working on several projects at the same time including upcoming gallery shows and public art projects.
I was recently awarded the August-Macke Prize, so for the award exhibition I realized a new work called “Two apples” – it’s two aluminum cast apples painted with a trompe-l’oeil effect, that are hanging from the ceiling and exchanging lightning bolts with high voltage electricity.
I have also been working on a project for the federal environmental agency in Dessau where I’m realizing a sculpture with the help of bees, and I’m currently planning a solo exhibition at the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros (SAPS) museum in Mexico City to take place next year.

C.I: You live and work in Berlin, one of the capital of contemporary art which this year has seen the first edition of the new Berlin art fair. What do you think about the Berlin art scene? Do you think it’s a stimulating place for an artist? Which are the place you enjoy more in the city?

M.S: I love Berlin and I can’t imagine living in any other city. On the one hand it has tons of inspiration with lots of shows to see and on the other hand the quality of life is pretty good. My studio is the place I enjoy most.

Micheal Sailstorfer was born in 1979 in Velden, Germany. He currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. “Cloud and Tearsis his first solo show in Mexico City and it runs November 9 to December 22, 2017.

Carla Ingrasciotta

  • Michael Sailstorfer, Photo: Shirin Ourmutchi, Courtesy of the artist and PROYECTOSMONCLOVA Michael Sailstorfer, Photo: Shirin Ourmutchi, Courtesy of the artist and PROYECTOSMONCLOVA
  • Michael Sailstorfer, Himmel Berlin [Berlin Sky], 2012. Installation view in Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany Courtesy of the artist and PROYECTOSMONCLOVA Michael Sailstorfer, Himmel Berlin [Berlin Sky], 2012. Installation view in Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany Courtesy of the artist and PROYECTOSMONCLOVA
  • Micheal Sailstofer, M.59, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and PROYECTOSMONCLOVA, Photo: Studio Michael Sailstorfer Micheal Sailstofer, M.59, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and PROYECTOSMONCLOVA, Photo: Studio Michael Sailstorfer

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