The New Vanguard – Artist Profile: MARC VAN DER HOCHT
Interview JUSTIN ROSS
Fotografie CHARLOTTE KRAUSS
4SEE puts a spotlight on young artists from the international art scene whom we deeply admire for their explosive talent and limitless creativity. We respect them even more for their tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds of fame and success in the hypercompetitive artworld. Their incomparable ability to let us share in feelings, emotions, ideas, issues, and concepts that count make us want to take a second and third look at their work. But it is their genuine passion for their art that comes through when you speak with these heavyweights of the art world in Berlin and New York—two of the cultural capitals of the world.
Did you always know that you were going to be an artist?
I knew the moment I first opened the FatCap Magazin – New York Issue, a magazine about graffiti that was really hard to get back then. I was 15. The dynamics and sweeping styles on huge walls and trains had me spellbound. Ever since that day I just knew that I had to be involved with artistic processes.
Do you find the artworld cutthroat and competitive, or is it also supportive and community-minded, or something in between?
It is just like the music industry. There is a big range from dominant major labels that only care about profit and stop for nothing, to small, lovingly operated independent labels that support talented artists and pour their heart and soul into their work. Everything in combination leads to a huge money making circus, where new sensations and records pop up every single day.
I myself, being just a small a cog in the machine, have been very lucky so far. I got to travel to interesting places and got to meet inspiring people through my work. I went to Shanghai, Rotterdam and recently to New York and always had a great time.
What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far?
Awards and sales are of course very important and highly motivating, but I am honestly most thrilled about exciting exhibitions. I love the chance to arrange my work in a room and create a dialogue between themselves and the space. With that said I think my biggest solo exhibition up to date, Vitruv in the Werkstättengalerie of the Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau, which was shown at the beginning of this year, was a peak in my career.
Does art always need to be relevant? Is there a place for aesthetic indulgence, or do politics come into play in your motivation?
Artwork should confront the viewer with the unknown and show them a new perspective. But this could be done with something banal or seemingly irrelevant. Confronting ourselves with such phenomena aids us in both self-reflection and emancipating ourselves to become mature personalities. Maturity in turn is a prerequisite for political efforts. In light of this, even geometric abstract art can have political implications. Ultimately, no shape or colour exists without meaning. Even simple symbols like a circle are part of a visual culture and bear a meaning.
If not politics, then what are the key sources of inspiration for you?
This world is full of wonder, I just have to keep my eyes open and keep marveling at the world like a child, there are always new things to discover. That way I realized how a certain repertoire of shapes percolates my urban surroundings. There is a basic vocabulary of shapes used for designing objects which runs like a common thread through our world. I recognized analogies between the shape of the lighter on my desk and the design of towering skyscrapers in Pudong, Shanghai. The structure of circuit boards closely resembles the road network of a city, at least when you are taking a look from above with a satellite. Such phenomena, which are characterized by self-similarity on a grand and a small scale, are called fractals. And this is where my work begins.
What is it like to live/work in Berlin?
When we first came to Berlin about eight years ago, it actually kind of was against our intention. The hype was too much and everybody wanted to come here. That fact on its own was off-putting. Luckily we still ended up here because of readily available child care, a place at the Universität der Künste, and the at that time cheap rents. It was definitively the right decision. I cannot imagine a better place to live and work in. Because of relatively low living costs, the work does not have to focus on selling and profits, like it has to in cities like London and New York. Over there, the pressure is on to cash in on your work.
What is next for you, an immediately upcoming project or chance to see your work?
Until the release of this issue my new website with comprehensive material about my work will hopefully be finished. Apart from that I am taking care of final preparations for my upcoming exhibitions.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time, where would you like to see your artwork and at what scale?
OMG! In ten years I will be going on 50, I would rather not think about that now. Instead, I will try focusing on the present and pursuing my path at my own pace. By the way, I will of course be stunningly good-looking, in perfect shape and an internationally renowned artist.