Artist interviews are not only a classic genre of art writing. They are also one of the most important tools of the trade for art researchers, as well as documentation of an encounter between the artist and his or her interlocutor. They are more than a simple conversation, but rather a purposeful narration that supplements our understanding of the artist’s work, sometimes biography, sometimes intent in producing their work. These texts have a long history in art writing and research that is not without its conflicts. As Johanna Burton and Lisa Pasquariello put it in their introduction to a group of essays on artist interviews in Art Journal, “For all of the format’s knotty dynamics, artists continue to agree to be interviewed, and our fascination with these interviews abides, often to a fetish point.”1 Why do we stay fascinated? Perhaps one answer lies in the origin of BOSmagazine.
The format of the interview seemed a fitting place for us to start when Astrid Honold and I sat down to start discussing what we wanted BOSmagazine to be in winter of 2015. I was lucky enough to meet artist Fendry Ekel at an event that was part of Berlin Open Studio 15, and our conversation quickly turned to art writing and what was needed in the publishing landscape for art in Berlin. As most of you know, Berlin Open Studio (BOS) is a yearly program that gathers people—artists, their friends, scholars, art lovers, and writers—together in studio spaces. It encourages engagement in an intimate setting that is also the most fundamental space of artistic practice. And conversations are some of the most valuable products of the encounters coming out of BOS.
Visiting a gallery or museum is one view of the artist’s work. Meeting the artist in front of the work in a community of locals and visitors to Berlin is a specific experience of the work. It’s also an experience of the city of Berlin! There are so many artists with studios in Berlin, and so many opportunities for fruitful dialog. It is easy to leave these events with a sense of deeper insight—a peek behind the curtain of artist production. And this is, I would argue, a major source of our fascination with the artist interview. It is more than information about the artist or the scholarly or critical point of view. It’s a glimpse into the structures behind what is displayed, and at the same time offers us this view through the artist’s direct dialog with a fellow viewer.
In this inaugural collection of interviews, we present conversations with established and emerging artists, which we feel give insights into artistic practice in Berlin and beyond. BOSmagazine publishes in both English and German language, and going forward, we will continue to publish writing that revolves around artistic practice. We want to thank our outstanding contributors in this collection of interviews for their insights and collaboration, and our community of friends, colleagues and readers. We look forward for your continuing interest and support!
Sarah Goodrum, Editor-in-Chief
Berlin, 23. February, 2017
1 “’Ask Somebody Else Something Else’: Analyzing the Artist Interview,” Art Journal Vol 64, No. 3 (Fall 2005): 46.