Q&A With Mikkel Carl
1: Can you tell me a little about your background?
In my early teens I was obsessed with brands, so it was a really big thing to me when my uncle returning from Thailand brought back embroidered Lacoste-crocodiles in bulk. I had my mother sew one on to my home knit sweater. I also remember having this one pair of Nike tennis socks that got worn out all too quickly. So, I simply cut off the upper part featuring the logo and then I wore this on top of my regular no name socks. Later, I went on to making my own “Levi’s” T-shirts using textile pencils. I still recall one that I was particularly proud of. I sprayed lemon juice on the soles of my worn (fake!) Timberland booths, walked across a piece of paper, and then gently heated it from below until the footprints appeared. These I traced on to the white T-shirt adding the Levi’s brand and a message saying: “Rebels never go out of style, they just walk away”.
2: What is the material process behind your new paintings?
(from the press release)
The exhibition R.I.P. curl consists of a new series of paintings on titanium – a metal with the unequalled quality to permanently change colour when exposed to sulphuric acid while connected within a fixed voltage electric circuit. In a chemical process called ‘anodizing’, this builds a layer of microscopic crystals on the surface of the titanium plates, which then in turn refracts the light. The higher the voltage, the thicker the layer of crystals grows, and thus the further along the colour spectrum the light will travel: Brown, purple, blue, yellow, red, green, white. Exercising a number of different soaking, masking and application techniques while also using existing scratches and marks on the surface Mikkel Carl explores this unique opportunity to make brightly colored paintings entirely without the use of pigment.
3: What is the idea/concept behind your art?
To use the description offered by curator and art critic Toke Lykkeberg, who recently wrote a text on these new paintings, I guess I’m …”a rather conceptual artist taking some time off as a painter.”
4: What is the worst thing about being an artist?
I don’t know, but whatever it is, it may also be the best thing about being an artist.
5: Collectors, gallerists, ”art investors” – good, bad or…?
Once again quoting Toke Lykkeberg: …”collectors might be regarded as installation artists. They’re active consumers who will provide the work with a context and perhaps some function by making it cover up a hole in the woodwork of their comfy country house. Thus it will make their guests talk about what is rather than what is not.”