Eckehard Fuchs is a painter from Germany, residing in various cities throughout Europe. His paintings are equally playful and dark, muted yet colorful and curious. Sometimes abstract, and other times incredibly direct. This interview is one of many from a roster of artists, as part of a ongoing collaboration with 5 Pieces Gallery, in Berne, Switzerland.
Introduce Yourself. I read on your blog that you and small group of artists have been continually moving over the past 10 years throughout Europe, with hubs in Milan and Dresden. What prompted this decision to always be moving and changing? What is your favorite city that you find yourself wanting to return to over and over again? Do you believe that your work will suffer if you were to stop moving? If so, Why?
Hello, my name is Eckehard Fuchs, I am a German Painter. I started my career in Dresden, the city where I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden) and received a Master in Painting by Prof. Ralf Kerbach. I work with Gallery Baer, in Dresden, with whom I have a good cooperation. The Gallery has a nice selection of Artists. I also founded, with other artists, like Paul Elsner, the artist run space geh8 in Dresden; it has made my life in the city quite comfortable.
Well, the small group you asked of consists of my girlfriend and me. Paola Alborghetti is, in my eyes, an outstanding Artist and due to the fact that we are very different people, we can easily surprise and help each other. When we met she was living in Milan, Italy and me in Dresden, so we arranged studio and working conditions in both cities. In 2012 we decided to stop this dualism and since that time we changed cities every one to three months. So we are only in the second year of this experience, but it has already led to very exciting and important changes in our professional career.
For me, personally in the past, my studio space the most important thing. I saw it as the center of my work. It´s kind of stupid, but the center is lying in myself. So I see two more important points in our tour through Europe: the first is that we share now our working spaces which are sometimes very huge but sometimes also very small. For me, who was used to working alone, this is an even bigger modification. The second point is that this change is very inspiring and it is helping to keep unnecessary life problems apart. We try to afford these luxuries as long as possible. It is definitely a wonderful experience, but if we decide to settle down somewhere again, I have no fear of missing this lifestyle. We collect experience and that is what its all about.
Till now our more impressing residences were in Prague, Rotterdam, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Milan and some villages in Italy and it´s completely impossible for us to find a favorite city out of them.
I read a quote on your blog “vision is more important than language itself, the iconography of our images consists of signs and symbols that are deeply connected to the collective unconscious and is based on an interaction with a variety of systems and visions”. Firstly, when you say vision is more important than language itself, what do you mean by that exactly? Can you go in depth about particular signs and symbols that you return to in your work and why you feel so deeply connected to them, as well as the systems and visions you discuss in terms of creating a visual conversation.
It is by far easier than it sounds. Here is an English translation that comes to mind from a very condensed German text; I try anyway to bring some light into it. “Vision is more important than language” has the simple meaning that in my work I follow the moment and my intuition. Well, there are some philosophical minds taken from the thoughts of “Meister Eckhard” and of other mystics, but that is leading too far. There is no “frame” anymore in how I want to express my work. So I follow what in each moment seems necessary for me.
I love museums with all their cultural fields and I love to jump through representation methods in all of art history. Like an afterimage, which is burned on the retina, they occur in my work. Symbols and Signs, which have a repeated impact on me, but in an already deformed and personal way. The original meaning is occurring only as an echo. This is leading to the fact that my interest is more and more on the way to abstraction. A visual conversation is describing quite well what I do in my paintings.
Your work has been described as representing protagonists “coming to terms with [their] own individual perception[s] of reality.” Taking this as true, to what degree is this central focus reflective of a personal exploration? Are your protagonists making sense of chaos? What does this chaos involve for them and for you?
First I have to mark, that the human figure is not anymore the one and only player in my work. When I look back I often took figures with a Byzantine strength into jointed dolls to let them act out a personal or mental story. I had a lot of fun with it and took a lot of knowledge out of this process, but I am not seeing this as the center of my work anymore. Confronted with Chaos, me and as well my “protagonists” are looking still for a clue.
Your exhibitions occasionally involve a single mixed media installment amongst a more traditional gallery display of framed canvases on a stark white wall. Do you think audiences today respond differently to, or even expect, to experience mix media in contemporary art displays?
Well, yes and no. For the moment I really like the idea to open up my presentation mode into installations. In fact I love arrangements like in Renaissance “Wunderkammer”. I like to present my works in group exhibitions with contrary works to mine as well. Alone though, I try to step away from too much “traditional gallery display”. But in the end it´s both, I really like to see a painting alone but I love it if the context is enlarging power.
Color is important to you and your work. What does your study of color look like on a daily basis? Do you encounter colors in your daily life that you endeavor to re-create in your work, or is your process in creating colorful works more free form?
The colors I am using are the most clear indicator of my feelings. I use them to create a feeling but as well to disturb it. I like the quote by Cyndi Lauper, “on my darkest days I wear my brightest colors”: it´s definitely not the same for me, but I like it.
Can you talk more about your upcoming exhibition Centrifuge Nuremberg? What other projects do you have lined up?
Oh yes, I am really looking forward to the upcoming show in Zentrifuge Nürnberg. It has much to do with my work for the artist run space “geh8” in Dresden. I really liked to arrange shows for and with other artists. The benefit of these kind of exhibition spaces is that there is no commercial interest to consider. You build up things just in the way you feel.
For the show in Nürnberg, we, (Paola Alborghetti and me) invited two artists which are close to our hearts; Lorenza Boisi from Milan / Mergozzo, Italy and Andreas Hildebrandt from Potsdam, Berlin. We both like a lot of their works and to make a long story short this is all what is about. Collaborations with artists are one of the most beautiful things in the work of an artist.
Zentrifuge Nünrnberg is also one of those so-called “Off Spaces” and we are looking forward to working together with them. There will be also a framework program around the exhibition. So the exhibition’s Idea was born by a friend from Bamberg, Martin Beyer, who founded a literature project for his city, called “Bamberg liest”.
If you were stuck on an island, and could bring one personal object, what would it be? What significance does that object hold for you?
I guess I am not looking too much for a single object. More important than an object is that I would want company on the Island. As long I am not alone I would look forward to a good treasure hunt, so maybe my object could be a scoop or a shovel.