“I do it for myself, there are no permissions of others”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
CD: My parents are from Greece, they came to Germany in the early 1960s, where I was born in the year1969 in Düsseldorf. The very first time I recognized that there is something more to applying paint and color on something, was when I first went to the Museum Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf with my school, in the 1970s. That day changed my life! I was standing in front of a Mondrian Painting, that totally blew my mind! Two vertical, two horizontal black lines and a blue field somewhere in between! I thought, “This guy is incredibly cool.” I was just nine years old, but I understood that there is more to applying paint on canvas.
AT: When did it become serious?
CD: It took years! I always have been painting and drawing in my younger years, but this was not art. It was simply creating something that looked appealing to my eye. Later on, in school when we learned about art history and art, I was more and more interested in experimenting how to express my emotions visually. I started to put oil paint on old pieces of wood from leftover furniture. As I loved to paint with my hands, I never painted with brushes. Furthermore, I needed direct contact with the paint I was using. The outcome was never important to me, I was in love with the paint, that was all. Later on, in the academy I was going to, I started to create something that was close to a concept in my work, but I found out that analogy did not fit me. I do not like to put something in place of what I can tell or write, that is not enough to me.
AT: Are there any people that have been significant during your progress as an artist?
CD: Personally, I believe it was my father, because he gave me the opportunity to experiment in his cellar with all kinds of colours and utensils creating my own idea of art.
AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Where does your process start?
CD: To be honest, there is none. I start my work always the same; I apply paint on the surface, then I apply the packaging material, the canvas or aluminium was covered in before, on the fresh paint. Afterwards, I take it off again and start to sweep the paint with a broom, while the painting lies on the floor. Through the substraction of the packaging material an image is created, or at least what we think an image is.
Exhibition view, 2016.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
CD: I use a broom. Usually, one uses it to clean the floors, so it can be said I sweep clean my paintings.
AT: Do you leave your work open to interpretation? Or do you think the viewer should engage with your work in a specific way?
CD: The devoid of any formal composition and physical traces of the artist’s hand, is my goal to make visible that our mind is unable to distinguish. It is the opposite of seeing, I personally call it the imitation of perception. In my work I like to question both the artist’s ability to serve as a document and the viewer’s ability to judge the object without the elementary process of identification. My work explores the relationship between object, memory and identity. My practice is based on the manipulation of the surface’s condition in order to create new dialogues between them and the viewer, observing the disruption of familiarity to them. The viewer’s results give reference to scale, atmosphere or material, although I do not give any idea of these. The feeling of being familiar is negated at the same time through visible exploits in the image.
AT: How do you feel while you are working? Do you think of the final result?
CD: Painting is physical work and I strive to make the most of its productive economy. The experimental plans coincide with the resulting image. The forms relate to the distribution of paint, and the concept of all these consequences is in fact the concept of the picture. I do not even know if there is a picture. There is simply an event which is recorded and all its rules indexed: a painting. The process itself, then, is not the aim, this is because there is no dressing-up to be seen, but simply an action, the action of revealing the order and the material qualities with which these sensory experiences are made. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.
AT: How do you understand when a work is finished?
CD: Since I use a lot of alkyd and turpentine in my paints, there is only a short time slot I can sweep the material. The paint starts to dry and crack after 4 to 5 hours. This is the point I stop working on the painting and let it dry completely.
0616-02, 2016, 90 x 130 cm, Oil on Aluminium.
0616-03, 2016, 90 x 130 cm, Oil on Aluminium.
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or is it all inside you?
CD: I do not focus on the illusionary potential achieved by the application of paint on the surface, but rather on the synthesis of the painting as an object. My work forms an ongoing inquiry into the materiality of paint upon support and the fundamentality of painting itself: paint, object and process.
AT: Do you think art can be learned or is it something innate?
CD: Art for me, is to be able to change your point of view. Some can do it, some never will.
AT: There are any artists that influenced your works? Why?
CD: Mondrian. I cannot exactly say why, his work is magic to me. He is able to build a world inside two lines. Secondly, Pierre Soulage, he is the master of material and light and, lastly, my hero. Next, Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still and Franz Kline. They open a universe of imagination and emotions. Finally, Mark Rothko, there is no one else who is able to create the viewers’ life in one single colour!
AT: How important is for you the role of social media?
CD: Social media, among others, is a platform to make anyone visible, sometimes this is enriching and sometimes it can make you feel mad. The user is prompted to either sort what he sees into a virtual world, which corresponds to his ordinary understanding of reality, or into an artificial world.
0716-01, 2016, 100 x 140 cm, Oil on Aluminium.
0816-02, 2016, 110 x 160 cm, Oil on Aluminium.
AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?
CD: Sometimes it is extremely difficult for me to understand what is going on out there.
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
CD: Pursuing art is not at all daunting. My work does not rely on the opinion of someone else, so the most rewarding, in regards to making art, is the way it gives me freedom. I do it for myself, there are no permissions of others.
AT:What do you do outside of painting?
CD: I focus on making money to buy my material. I work as an Art Director in creative business.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
CD: Working hard on my freedom.
Christo Daskaltsis 1969 born in Düsseldorf, Germany lives and works in Berlin, Germany Education 1989 – 1991 Academie des Beaux Art, Paris Academic studies Art, Arthistory and Design amongst others at Pierre Soulage und Jean Miotte 1992 – 1994 Robert Schumann Institut, Düsseldorf Academic studies piano and composition 1994 – 1998 Akademie für Design und Kommunikation, Schwerte Academic studies design and communication design
Awards 2013 iF Design Award 2014 German Design Award Solo exhibitions Since 1995 exhibitions in Paris, Amsterdam, Athens and Berlin 2016 Galerie Ei, Berlin 2014 Galerie Naimah Schütter, Berlin 2013 Galerie Liebkranz, Berlin