Bas van Wieringen
[C] How did you first start to play with this idea of shifting ‘creating a new perspective on everyday objects’?
[B] When I was at the Academy (Gerrit Rietveld Academie) I was almost never in the studio. I just walked around a lot. Back then I mainly used my body as a material. I documented actions. I didn’t really want to add anything. So, I worked to create small interventions in daily life.
I always got very frustrated when I sat down in my studio waiting for ideas to come. It didn’t work for me. I had to be out there surrounded by the everyday. I needed to be in this meditative state that comes from being bored. I used to go to the home improvement store a lot looking at those objects that are waiting to be bought to have a purpose/function, but aren’t having a function while being there. A lot of my ideas come from the home improvement store, but to answer your question I think I was always busy with finding paradoxes in everyday objects.
[C] Whilst your work is certainly sculptural and photographic, have you ever thought of venturing into other mediums such as paint?
[B] For me the medium is subservient to the subject matter. Every idea asks for another way of executing the work. That’s why I won’t call myself a photographer or a sculptor etc. In my body of work there’s actually some painting, but in those cases I just use the medium for its’ meaning to make the conceptual idea stronger.
[C] There's a simplicity to your work which brings an intense focus on the objects photographed. What is the purpose of this minimalism?
[B] The minimalistic approach pushes me to filter everything that’s not enhancing the content out, leaving me with the most crystalized idea. Everything that’s distracting from the concept should be left out.
[C] When did you first appreciate the artistic potential of otherwise mundane objects?
[B] I have always been interested in the mundane. Boredom is a perfect state of being to take a new approach on things that normally don’t attract your attention. I always try to find paradoxes, to make sense of the world. I also don’t really want to add to much to the world. We are already surrounded by all this great material, telling all different kinds of stories. The only thing you have to do is to be open to re-read these objects.
[C] Does the way you live at home reflect the work you make?
[B] Probably, I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that I am less clean and minimalistic at home then I am in my work. I am not very structured…
[C] There's a quick-witted and almost comedic sense to your work, such as ‘Bend the Rulers’. Has this way of thinking always naturally come to you?
[B] Humour has always been very important to me. It keeps me interested. Humour is a playful way of interacting with your surrounding. Humour is often critical without becoming too serious or political.
[C] There's this repeated idea of exploring domestic items throughout your work. Do you think you could explore say urban landscapes in a similar way?
[B] I already did. I made a book called ‘Moments and Situations’ wherein I photograph everyday objects in public spaces. A series of photos of objects that have lost their particular purpose. The objects are in such a way accidentally deformed, rearranged, forgotten, or left unattended that they are not performing the purpose for which they have been created.
I think this series even led me to the sculptural, everyday object work I am making now.
[C] What does the term art mean to you?
[B] Art is place where I have the freedom to do whatever I want. To play around. I like the fact that art can have this meta-function of trying to explain itself, be critical of itself. Therefore it’s always in movement and can constantly keep evolving.
[C] What is next for you?
[B] At this moment a documentary filmmaker is making a film about me and my work, The film is almost finished so next month (February 2019) we will be going to Spain to finalise it. It will be broadcast on Close Up, a Dutch television programme about art, architecture and design, sometime this year.