Edwin Deen

Edwin Deen Interview - By Steven Cox

HUNTED PROJECTS discovered the work of Edwin Deen in early January 2012, since then an interesting dialogue has developed generating a thorough exploration of the artists practice.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and artistic background....

ED: My background is Architecture. I grew up in a village near Utrecht in the center of the Netherlands. After high-school I did a bachelors in Construction Engineering in Utrecht and then I went to work for an architecture office then started my studies in Architecture at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam. Nearly half-way I started working more and more as a photographer. I met a teacher who asked the right question at the right moment: 'Are you at the right place/ should you study at the Rietveld Academy?' A major change occurred, I applied to the art academy and quit the job and the architecture studies.

How did you get into making your artworks?

ED: I got into making artworks during my studies through my insatiable curiosity for 'things out there' was already there, but it was at the Rietveld Academy that I found a way to visualize all the interest in my own way.

Experimenting is the fundament for everything I do. Actually, I never wanted to make artworks. I wanted to do visual experiments by playing with elements of my interest, maybe to prove there is more to see in the things that surround us. It was about the experiment, not about the result as being art. As a matter of fact: artworks did come out…

Terra Incognita (2009) explores the unknown, unexplored and undocumented transformation of materials. Your experiments, artworks, and scientific research predominantly focus on this metamorphosis of the material as a celebration of manipulated and undiscovered beauty. Could you discuss your working process for HUNTED PROJECTS? i.e – how is your studio time spent researching such concepts?

ED: It's hard to define my working process. During my artist-in-residence time in Warsaw I gave a lecture about it: work( )in(g) pro(gr)(c)ess. In half an hour I showed and talked about app. 250 images and video fragments of my studio, works in progress, exhibited works and inspirations. I didn't decide on the order on forehand, if I had shown the image I removed it from the folder of my computer, so I ended with an empty folder. I guess this was a direct translation of the way I work. Many things at the same time, in disorder, but if it comes to presentation a certain clear logic comes in. You can see this logic in the installation 'terra incognita': several different self sufficient experiments are shown on a white board table.

My experiments start with an interest in a phenomenon, or simply with an interest in a 'hidden' possibility in a object or machine. This possibility is often both physical (from physics) and aesthetic.

Could you discuss your artwork 'collection' for HUNTED PROJECTS?

ED: The 'collection' functions as a source for works. I'm collecting all the time, everywhere.  The objects themselves have the possibility to become (part of a) works. The 'collection' is also a work on itself. Like most of my other works, it's in progress. I add things and I take things out. (writing this makes me think: this could be where it differs from i.e a stamp-collection, there is no goal to get it complete. There is no 'real' logic or rule. There are also no objects with a higher value, at least as long as they are within the collection.*) The 'collection' shows things from our consumer driven society, and often refer to or clearly have this 'hidden' possibility i spoke about in the former question. It's also a kind of subconscious and intuitive thing at the same time.

Could you share with us what you are working on at the moment?

ED: I'm working on 'local collections'. Collections that contain the same kind of elements but are made on a specific location. I made one in Chazelles (FR) recently. I can not tell more about it yet, it's very fresh..

Can you discuss some of your influences and inspirations?

ED: At the moment I am into the Zero art movement. (in dutch: Nulgroep) The Zero artist uses existing objects and materials - like plastic, water, fire - to make very minimal works. I share their philosophy 'the beauty in things is already there'. My work differs from theirs: I often have to put things in action to make this already contained beauty visible. I'm very inspired by science/ physics: I often work with the laws of nature.

What are your plans for 2012, do you have any exhibitions lined up?

ED: On February 15 I will give a Pecha Kucha lecture in The Hague (NL). In April I will take part in the exhibition "Use it again" in Oranienbaum close to Dessau/ Berlin (DE) with the work 'liquid rainbow' (2011) and maybe some more. I'm working on finding another place to show this installation. Furthermore I'm working on new works, I started to work on an application for a grant and I am orientating in the 'Gallery world'. In October 2011 I started teaching as mentor in the Foundation Year of the Rietveld Academy and from February I will be a guest teacher at the Academy of Architecture. From the summer of this year I'm still kind of open, I like that.

Are there any particular artworks you especially like?

ED: Till now there is one artwork that made me cry: Rheinmetall/Victoria 8 by Rodney Graham (2003). Amazing!


Edwin Deen

All images courtesy of Edwin Deen.