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Nachbarn (or) The Eyes That Skimmed The Lawn

Norbert Arns & Katja Davar

9th June - 14th July 2013

Parameters and Aesthetic Neighbourhoods

Q: So. The idea of celebrating aesthetic neighbourhood came to you during one of those coffee type breaks - typical sign of a good-working-relationship in the studio?

A: Well, I’ve always loved the artist driven remark of, did that / been there years ago, one of those how paranoid am I going to react? moments. And then suddenly, pictures with an extraordinary proximity or dialogue with mine are whipped out of storage and those general, vague, ordinary-language terms with the usual sort of mixture of description and evaluation are obsolete.

Q: Because it’s like hearing voices again?

A: Again? Not at all. Simply because believing in a form of ultimate originality, authorship and so on is what keeps the hand and mind going, although - the real pictures that one makes are sometimes the ones that one thinks one has made, like thoughts being someone else’s opinions.

Q: Didn’t you just steal that from Wilde?

A: Yes, possibly. We certainly borrowed a part of our title from Ronald Firbank’s Vainglory, a story of the young and entirely alive Mrs Shamefoot who wants nothing more than to have a memorial stained-glass window erected in her honour in an English cathedral.

Q: Well, that certainly rings a bell.

One is constantly looking for a visual shorthand in daily life -- what form does yours take?

A: We’ve been talking about the grid or formation of grids in picture-making over the 20th and 21st centuries as a defining structure - we realised that this was an important interest that we share.

Q: Meaning...

A: simply that the shorthand became a common denominator.

Q: Any other common denominators or reasons for placing pictures together that ostensibly could do without one another? Nature / the elements...

A: Certainly: great expectations, the beauty in underperforming, linguistic etiquette, the response and legitimation of what one does. One could see the works set up and drawn as they are, as a roundtable, coffee no sugar thanks, that sort of thing.

Q: And (William of) Ockham’s razor?

A: That was just another of those book chats in between the DIY shop and that newly constructed wall. The conceptual cloak that underpins the pictures is one thing, but actually hearing them speak is another. Approaching the complexity of these works together is like deciding whether backstage cameras interest you or not. Possibly the Letzte Tankstelle vor der Grenze, or something.

Q: I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.


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