The eXTra finGer

...''He was counting on his fingers.One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven.Eleven?Had he been born with an extra finger?''...

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Location: Italy

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Interview with Troels Carlsen

q)What is your earliest art-related memory?

a)Probably going to Louisiana, a contemporary art museum in Denmark next to where i grew up..early memories would be Giacometti`s sculptures and some boring danish abstract painters.

I also remember a book owned by my uncle called: American Pictures by Jacob Holdt. In the 70`s he travelled and lived for 7 years as a vagabond photographer in the worst ghettos across

the states. I was probably 7 or 8 when i saw that book, and looking back now, it seemed much more artistic than the stuff on Louisiana.

q) Who has had the greatest influence on your work?

a)Not one single artist, but a variety of stuff : Boxing history, indian food, Schiele, Bacon, any great speaker, the animal kingdom, my twin brother, science, my girlfriend`s knowledge..and a lot of small things.

q) What are the main tools of your craft?

a)Antique engravings, prints and charts from the field of anatomy and nature life,etc..any found object I like i use in my works, both in installations and in my paperworks. I paint on top of old prints to convey new viewpoints. With the anatomical illustrations as a physical foundation, I aim to move beyond the first layer and paint my own scenarios, like a hole or a window into a further level of symbolic combinations.

q) Is a formal education important?

a)For some yes , and for others, not.

q) What is the biggest misconception about art?

a)Some people think artists need to be a bit miserable to feel good. All artists want to be feel great, be succesful, and come into the light.

q) Which is more important in art - concept or execution?

a)To me, both. But I can`t really provide you with a standard recipe. Sometimes the execution is the concept, and vice versa. In the end a strong concept, narrative, idea, whatever you wanna call it, gotta take the win.

q) What theme or aesthetic are you most drawn too?

a)The facts of life...birth and death, and everything that happens, or does`nt happen in between. Everything and everybody i portray in my art, is longing for something, doing it`s best to face and accept adversity in life. It does`nt matter if I paint a broken pencil or a woman with an amputated limb. They all work equally hard to appear strong.

q) What is your favorite piece of art in your home?

a)I don`t collect art myself, but my tiny taxidermy monkey i found on a flea market will be with me forever.

q) If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

a)I enjoy working together with very skillful technicians, who can help me develop certain complicated ideas. I only did it once so far, and it was a really interesting experience. I recently collaborated with a great engineer on a huge motorized watch hand for a show in Berlin. For some reason I often think about engaging skillful people from other fields in my work : An experienced Pilot, A professional boxer, a top lawyer. It`s a very exotic thought to me.

q) Which emerging artist do you think more people should know about?

a)They already do, but my twin brother Asger Carlsen who is a photographer in New York. He is making any photo enthusiast turn head with his new book called Wrong.

q) What has been your greatest achievement to date?

a)Making a life as an artist, and building a stable structure in my everyday work life as a professional artist the last 6 years. I have constantly gotten more and more busy since the start. Now is an interesting time, cause i start working closely with international galleries, and all the financial breakdown bla bla these past 2 years actually has`nt affected my career.

q) What has been your biggest roadblock?

a)None really. My experience tells me that most obstacles in life are just momentarily. However, 10 years ago I was really frustrated with society`s general lack of interest in new art. Luckily, It changed. But periodically, i was really nervous about how my life would turn out. Making it is an artist was actually my only job preference. Occasionally, i thought about writing. Words and languages play a big part in my life. I was really fascinated with speeches, sometimes more so than with images.

q) How do you define success?

a)In many different ways, but it could get boring to talk about.

q) What will be the name of your autobiography?

a)I couldn`t possibly tell you, cause I don`t think I will ever write a book about about myself, but I am hoping soon to find time in between shows, to start putting a book together about my work.

But I will definitely look forward to coming up with a good title for it.

q)What is the best piece of (art-related) advice you’ve ever been given?

a)Very very simple: Work hard. I gave that advice to myself.