Remmen nominees Mathias & Mathias: Art could change society for the better

Remmen nominees Mathias & Mathias: Art could change society for the better

Mathias & Mathias. Foto: Mette Kierstein

Mathias & Mathias are not really interested in age and definitions. However, they are advocating for art’s ability to change and improve our society. If we would allow it, that is. We have had a chat with the two artists, who are joint-nominated for The Remmen Foundation Art Prize.

Imagine that you meet a person who has no previous knowledge of your art – how would you explain your work?
We create spacious stories. A mixed bag of sculpture, time-based media and writing. Typically we work from a starting point – one or more characters that we use to filter the art. We find these characters in literature and in the public debate. Most of the time our artworks is based on art history or places where art and reality compete.

What is it like to be young artists in 2019?
‘Young artist’ is a matter of definition. It is not a criterion from which we define ourselves. We don’t see ourselves as aspiring or established artists either. It is probably because we are an artist-duo, consisting of two different people with different backgrounds and experiences, who have decided to join forces. But yes, of course, we’re young, but we are also just two heads thinking together. With our twosome we believe that both challenge ideas of age as well as the dominant perceptions about the subject.

Mathias & Mathias: Artie at Tranen, 2017. Photo: Jan Søndergaard.
Mathias & Mathias: Artie at Tranen, 2017. Photo: Jan Søndergaard.


Can you tell a bit about your process from idea to finished work?
Since we are two people, being an artist-duo, dialogue is obviously the basis for our collaborative work. Usually we start out by talking about surroundings and context for the specific project, most likely at a café or at another public place. Next, we talk about this and that which leads to additional associations. At about this time a common interest has taken shape, which will be our core idea. Text also plays a major part in our practice and writing is a way for us to collect our personal thoughts as one united thinking head. Since we don’t share a studio or live in the same city at the moment, production is a rather interim affaire, where we borrow a studio or produce works in our own home.

In your opinion, what is art’s role in our society today? And what role should it have?
Sadly art has been severely marginalized and shamed as an interest for the so-called elite. There is a general lack of art in the public debate and the public in general, which is something we thematize in our practice because we believe in art as an essential partner in a well functioning society. Thinking esthetically should not only be reserved for one’s spare time and in the context of the experience economy. Rather art’s particular logic could be used as a counterpoint to common sense and rationality. We believe a more dynamic art-rationality-dialectic could change society for the better.

Portrait-series: Nominees for The Remmen Foundation Art Prize
Every year The Remmen Foundation Art Prize is awarded to a promising young artist or artist-duo that has made a mark on the Danish art scene. The award that comes with a cheque of 100.000 danish kroner will be awarded on the 23rd of May, at a ceremony at Hotel d’Angleterre in connection to the official opening of Art Week. Through a series of portraits Art Week is presenting the four artists who are nominated for the art prize this year.

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