Q&A With Wolfgang Voegele

Q: Tell me about your background?

I grew up in a small village in the southern black forest close to the border to Switzerland.

In my childhood I spent most of the time building huts and dams in the woods. It was great and totally felt free, we could go out into nature and spend the whole day there coming home in the evening and always had a lot of exciting stories which we experienced.

Q: Do you remember the first artwork you made, and can you tell me about it?

As a child and also as a teenager I used to draw a lot. I was just scribbling and sketching all the time, hah more or less the same thing I´m doing now. I can’t really remember the first work of art I made, but I do remember the first work of art I consciously saw. That was `Der Lauf der Dinge` from the Swiss Artist Duo Fischli und Weiss. Because of the geographical closeness to Switzerland, we could get some Swiss TV programs through our antenna. I switched on TV on a Saturday morning, I must have been 8-9 years old, I zapped into a regional Swiss program, where they played the full version of the domino-like work of the artists. I was totally fascinated and confused at the same time, but it felt great that someone made such a big effort to create something which was somehow nonsense or a childlike game.

Q: Was there a particular moment or event where you decided to become an artist? 

It was not a certain moment, it was rather that it became serious over time. Of course having a studio and being able to work was an important moment in this chain. But it came more by chance. I wasn’t even on the lookout. A now very good friend of mine I was working with, had a place in his studio and he knew back than that I was painting in my super small apartment. So he offered me the place and I joined. From there on I began to paint with oil and just took it more serious and worked on my paintings nearly on a daily basis.

Q: What influences you? And are there any special artists that you feel inspired by? 

I try to let everything into the work. I feel like everything can have an influence whether its something to eat, a plant that I see, or a song that I hear. I don’t have anything particularly as source material. When I start with my drawings, I just make a certain mark, and then the first mark needs another and from there on it’s really process based. I try to come to a state of mind where in the end it feels like the composition has been done by itself, or by someone else.

Therefore I think all things I see and feel make it into the work without me wanting to bring them into it consciously. The concept of the hermeneutic compass is something I’m thinking about when it comes to influences. It says that everything you experience changes your perception and therefore your personality and you constantly change and grow with the things you experience and they get part of the circle.

I can see a similarity in my work, the sketch Im doing today can only be done like it is today, it would have been totally different yesterday or will be tomorrow. Therefore I think my work is personal.

I would go with Klee, Poliakoff, De Kooning, Klapheck.

Q: Can you tell me more about the process in your works?

I start with a gesture in the drawing, like I explained above. I then improve the drawings until they feel like everything is said, on a good day the marks just need new friends and at some point it feels   no more is needed. At some point there is a composition I feel satisfied with. This process was done mostly computer based. Then I bring the sketch on canvas, which never works, so that I have to start working on the composition again.

For my last show I skipped the groundwork on computer and started directly on canvas. I think I will go on with this in the next time.

Q: What is most important to you regarding your work?

For myself it is most important to keep the work challenging and evolving. Once something is done and the questions, which are asked by the work are answered, I´m no more interested.  So I try to keep it interesting for myself. When I feel like something gets a method I change things, I don’t want to get stiff, I´m interested in experimenting.
For the viewer I hope my paintings are open. Maybe through the forms, seeming to be close to representation, you think you see something particular, but once you think you find a  certain figure it disappears. The works have certain entries and you can bring your own thoughts into them.

Q: Can you tell me more about your routines and rituals in your daily practice?

I try to arrive early in the studio, but normally I dally around on the way and get excited thinking about what I can make in the studio this day. When arriving, I find myself hanging around on the studio sofa. I feel like a lazy man, looking back after some weeks I often ask myself who did all the work?

Q: The use of computer generated sketches, how and why did this come to life?

Like a lot of things in my work it came by chance. I try to stay open for chances, therefore I don’t believe that it´s random. I did use the computer-generated sketches in the past a lot, but don’t want to be too much dependent of it. Thats why recently I directly started to work on my paintings on canvas without the upstreamed computer progress, like the ones I showed in my last solo in Madrid.

Q:  Can you tell us more about the forms and “symbols” in your works?

Influenced by archaic art forms like Cave Paintings and folk art, I started to grow interest in symbolic forms. I like the idea of a sign, that carries a certain content. In my works its a bit different, since the forms look like they carry or could carry a certain content, but in the end they don’t. Its maybe kind of a ladder into the paintings.

I often don´t know where the forms come from, but it´s a very interesting thing to ask this question to myself. Sometimes when a certain memory of something I´ve seen in my childhood for example comes back I have deja-vu like connections to the work, in other cases it stays cryptically.

Q: Can you let us in on some of the future projects, works?

Im excited to work with color again, in the last two years I excluded colors and focused on the line. It feels really liberating to start with colors without any plan and work into a more painterly direction, thats what I´m doing in the studio at the moment.

Besides that I´m experimenting with sculpture. Looking at my works, in which the lines dominate, I often thought of a three-dimensional work shown in 2D. Because the compositions deal with space a lot. So why not bring the forms I created into the room and make them three-dimensional. That´s what got me into sculpture lately.

Link to Solo Exhibition with Wolfgang Voegele in Copenhagen at Sunday-S Gallery

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