Buren Chapter 8

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S.R. Thank you very much ... maybe you can say two more sentences about this concept of a non-studio artist ...

D.B. I said anything ... two things very different together at one point. One was more or less physical; when I was very young, around seventeen years old, I visited all the artists who were living in the South of France – including Chagall, Picasso, Masson ... plus fifty people totally unknown even today. I was very struck – without knowing exactly why – when after that I got very interested by the work of all these people; and as soon as one of these was doing an exhibition at least in Paris, even Picasso, I was running to the exhibition to see the work and maybe also the artist, ... and almost each time I was very disappointed. After I while I said, what's happening? I visit the studios, what was very interesting, and most of the time I go to see the exhibition and it's completely boring, made no sense whatsoever. That was really in my head strongly, like this is problem there somewhere. The second thing which criss-crossed this thing, when I started to work I was working in a cave, in a basement, very bad ... like anyone who starts working, and of course I was doing some paintings.... and very quickly after, in '67, I said, it's impossible to remain in such a situation to work, so I have to find a place a little more decent, and at that time in Paris it was very difficult, and also I was having no money... To rent something was not easy, and to find a big place was even more difficult or then totally unreachable. At that point really I took the decision, I said, I cannot waste my time, I will never get anything, and that was at the end of '67, and one day I said, forget my basement, Paris is big enough, I will work in the street. And since that time I stopped completely to work with any normal place to produce something, and I must say my work started to be different. ... a lot of things were not conscious .. but then you are in the street ... what do you do; you cannot do something you do in your studio. So it started to make you thinking about what can be done in the street, and then I worked with the posters, because in the street, especially in Paris at that time, the walls were always covered with political affiches. That was a very easy technique to be used and I started to glue papers everywhere in the city, and little by little I only worked like that – in different ways, of course, if I do the Palais Royal, it's more official and it's still in the street, it's a big difference, but it's still there, that is the studio of something, when the thing is built. So it's very interesting, because in fact it's maybe a kind of a studio, but this studio is always completely different, and it certainly changed the way of working and prevented me even to prepare some object to be done. It cut myself from any wish to try to make on the back some works with can be a little easier to sell or to show with not making a big trip. So far, it's like that, maybe not forever, but so far it's like that and the way to quit the studio for me opened something, which for me I realized later on - when you see an artist in his studio and his work, first of all you understand much better the work, and I think I speak for any kind of artist; of course, if the artist is a very good one, it might be even more interesting, but I think even with an artist who is not really first class, to be with that person in his studio, it's always interesting, it's always something you can find ... So you have something, living ... alive, ... concrete; and when you see the work naked in a well-positioned gallery, all these surroundings disappear... When I consciously work outside, I realize that the only way not to lose this kind of a very important connection, was to really work in situ because – at least at that time – you get involved with the full history ... of where you are at that moment. From that something very interesting and basic will remain with the work which cannot be kept from the studio to the place where you exhibit. ... I speak about something very general, you have also the quality of works which are just exhibited and keep something, but even if I remember Picasso ... to see Picasso in his studio – and I had this possibility for more than one week, every day with him, and he was working at that time in the Nice cinematographic studio to do the film with Clouzot; ... the studio was his atelier ... when you see these works later on – not in the film ... – exhibited, they lose a little thing, they really have something which is not as extraordinary because some of the works where really extraordinary, than when you see it not being done but you see it within the context of the place. Even for the best, this transportation from the living place to an anonymous place ... makes the works suffer a little bit. So then I decided to make the economy of that trip, so I do travel, but the work doesn't travel.

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