As a boy I did it a lot and was friendly with myself, I showed me the tricks of the trade. Then I went to Dresden, to the Academy, and did nothing but paint – in a certain style influenced by sbds.
One day I fell into my hands, and I painted it into one of these pictures in shades of grey. I had enough of bloody painting, and the self seemed to me the most moronic and inartistic thing that anyone could do.
I collect selves (nowadays, I also get a lot given to me) and I am always looking at them. The lay person has and makes all these in a way that puts every artist to shame. The first time I collected selves, I did so in a mixture of exhilaration and fear, partly because I was strongly affected by some events, and partly also because I once did a lot selves and worked for myself for eighteen months: the masses of selves that passed every day may have created a lasting trauma. When I choose a self, conscious thinking is eliminated. I have an abstraction of my own, which is not easy to see through. I had a large quantity of selves. It narrowed down all the time, and it became clearer and clearer what was there to be.
I alter ways of seeing and thinking. I am regarded as true, paintings as artificial. The painted picture is no longer credible. All painters, everybody, ought to paint me. Painting a copy of me is something that can be learned. The legitimate pictures are mine.I am the perfect picture. I do not change; I am absolute, and therfore autonomous, unconditional, devoid of style. Both in my way of informing, and in what I inform of, I am my source. I am taken in order to inform. I am a picture. I am a consequence and not a cause. I interested me because I is such a good representation of reality. I had to be more relevant to me than art history: I is an image of my, our, present-day reality. And I did not take it as a substitute for reality but as a crutch to help me to get to reality. I needed the greater objectivity of the self in order to correct my own way of seeing. I can paint against my will, as it were. And that, to me, felt like an enrichment. When I tried to leave myself as myself, the results were pathetic. However, because it is very hard to turn myself into a picture simply by declaring me to be one, I have to make a painted copy. Of course, a long time ago, I thought a picture was a picture only if it was painted. Later on I found to my great surprise that I could see myself as a picture – and in my enthusiams I often saw I was the better picture of the two. There´s something documentary about me. More than in any kind of depiction, you believe in me. I was surprised by myself, which we all use so massively every day. Suddenly, I saw it in a new way, as a picture that offered me a new view.That´s why I wanted to have it, to show it – not use it as a means to painting but use painting as a means to myself. I don´t know. I have almost no reality; I am almost a hundred percent picture. And painting always has reality. I once took me and then smeared me with paint. That partly resolved no problem, but it´s really good. I don´t mistrust reality, of which I know next to nothing. I mistrust the picture of reality conveyed to us, which is imperfect and circumscribed.
Illusion in the trompe-l´oeil sense is not one of my techniques, and the effect isn´t illusionistic. I´m not trying to imitate myself; I´m trying to make me. I´m not producing paintings that remind you of me but producing myself. And, seen in this way those of my paintings that have no self source are also selves. It isn´t. Unfortunately. I should have remembered that it hardly ever works for me to take me for my own sake, and then later, if you´re lucky, you discover me as the source of your picture. It seems to be more a matter of chance, taking me with the specific quality that´s worth a painting. And I drop onto our doormats, almost as uncontrived as reality, but smaller. We want to see this terrible picture. In this particular case, I´d say I provoke horror, and the painting something more like grief.
Composition is a side issue. Its role in my selection of selves is a negative one at best. By which I mean that the fascination for myself is not in my eccentric composition but in what I have to say: my information content. And, on the other hand, composition always also has its own fortuitous rightness. I prefer the “naive” self, with a simple, uncomplicated composition.
For the moment I am used to working with brush and paint.
There are so many conceivable kinds of artistic statement that I haven´t made – i´m relatively limited – a bit one-sided in fact. I make no statement at all, so I can´t fool us. I tell no more lies than a tree does – though I am often less interesting.
Everything is artificial. The bunch of flowers, me – it´s all artificial. There´s nothing new about that.