Disclosure – I should let you all know that I have worked with Mattias on a contributor copy only zine.
ZL – You are an artist often working with groups or on large public pieces – what place do zines have in your work?
MG – Zines and self-published work have its own platform in my practice, and then it plays different roles in different projects. For example, there is one solo track where I draw by myself and collect the drawings on a blog (visual notes) where a constantly changing narrative occurs, one that I can look at for a better understanding of how I am working and what topics or methods interest me at the moment. These drawings are turned in to a type of random collage zines every three months or so like an archive of my drawing work. Another type of zine is the series ”MASU Works” that I do together with my colleague Susanne when we collaborate as MASU and do larger scale sculpture work both in urban public space and as Land Art in the forest.
We use MASU Works to collect sketches, try out new types of methods, document projects as well as invite writers or produce exhibition catalogues. MW has an open format, with no specific logo, size, design or purpose but is rather elastic in its framework for whatever is the content. MW is both an ongoing process for us,an artist collective and a way for us to distribute and share our work and we make issues when we have projects.
Besides this I am also part of a few different situations where self-publishing is involved where either zines are produced, traded or lectured about as well as collected, archived and discussed.
So, to conclude your question I think self-publishing is constantly present in my practice in different formats.
ZL – Do you remember the first time ?
MG – There are probably many of those moments that I have forgotten, but I think the one moment in recent years that took my breath away was the work of Tadashi Kawamata at Centre de Pompidou in Paris 2010. The actual exhibited pieces, a couple of loosely constructed huts or sheds that hung outside on the building facade, were of course great but what really got me was an image in a book from an older project: Apartment project “Tetra House N-3 W-26” 1983 Intervention in situ. In this project old wooden planks flow around the small house like the wind, almost encapsulating the building. The movement in the wood in relation to the solidness of the house is mindblowing.
Kawamata’s early projects really opened things up for me.
ZL – Given an unlimited budget and all the time in the world, what would be the project you’d make to be remembered by?
MG – Oh. It would be a project dealing with education.
I really like the Skateistan-project (www.skateistan.org) which started as a support structure for young girls in Afghanistan where they could go and learn how to skateboard, and once in the spot there was also education and an empowering environment. The project has branched out to more locations, also including boys.
Education for next generation global citizens is key.
So, if I had the means I would do projects like this in a bigger scale than I do now.
ZL – You work at a university that seems to have an amazing zine library, if you could suddenly find any one zine, what would be that treasure?
MG – 🙂 I am not sure about amazing yet, we are still very much setting it up, with just over 300 titles so far, but let’s hope we get there.
It is a difficult question, about the one great great treasure. I think for me it is mostly about the variety and the differences of the archive, that it holds both writing and photo essays, screen printed zines and copy machined work, drawings, paintings, collages and poetry from professionals, students and kids. Of course it would be amazing with early works by Basquiat or Patty Smith, but still I believe that the zine world is not so much about stars and collectibles and rather about the possibility to get voices out and bypass the marketplace. So, I think the real gems in a zine collection are the ones where someone just could not resist telling the story, where it just had to be told.
ZL – Which one creator you love seeing do you feel the world knows too little about, and what would you like to tell us about them?
As I said before, Tadashi Kawamata is my always go-to artist. His way of working with materials, people and the space is extraordinary. Even though he is now realizing some real grand projects, I feel mostly connected to his smaller scale projects where there is such tactile connection between the different components. Also his drawings and models for the projects are incredible!
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content copyright iestyn pettigrew 2019