About my work and U2
On the very first day
a spirit imploded
smashing itself into pieces
man is trying to put himself
leaving footprints in the clay...
Nadja Jerczynski 2007
The Give and Take in Art
In the human mind there's a yearning for connecting things, for feeling embeded in a certain background which is shared by others. And for an artist cultural concerns make a large part of that background. We need the confrontation and communication with others to build our charakter, form our attitude and to finally find our artistic position, which should be both flexible and persistent.
In this process different art forms have always enriched each other and still do. I don't want to use the word "influence" here because it implicates only a passive participation of the "influenced" person. Which in most cases is not true, it's more about inspiration and exchange and it starts in the moment when the work of an artist is displayed in public.
The band has been continiously cultivating this kind of artistical communication and exchange over decades. They have often been inspired by literature they had read, music they had listened to, places they had visited. (1) They worked together with other well-known personalities of their own line, such as Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who expanded their own creativity in different art forms like film music or video art. But they have also been connected with artists from other genres and still are, like for instance the photographer Anton Corbijn or the german producer Wim Wenders who made the film "The Million Dollar Hotel" on Bono's script. While shooting the movie they were partly inspired by the light and room sceneries in the paintings of Edward Hopper. (2)
After watching the movie in 2006 I made a painting called "TomTom and Eloise" to the tentativly developing relationship between those two figures.
So U2 often brings me on a criss-cross road to interesting artworks of different genres, which is highly inspiring and never boring.
From Music to Painting
U2's live-shows also appear like a complex piece of art, especially those in the 90ies. Beside the music they use the power of colours and images, the extravagance of weird video-installations and live performances to evoke a certain impression in the audience, which is connected to the subjects of the songs. I react to these "emotional places" with ideas for paintings. So let's say I use the images they create with music and poetry for making images by painting. On this way there's an important point to consider:
The issue of really transforming one art form into an autonomous other art form is very important and it's crucial not to make a mere illustration of the other. I'm always striving for the spiritual moment where a painterly idea occurs to a musical idea.
Of course the painting must be able to stand for itself too, and in my opinion a good painting needs two things: a goal, which means an attitude or content and it should be well elaborated.
Of course it's more easy to get into this artistical communication or to be inspired when there are common grounds of interest. For me there's quite a lot to find in U2's oevre:
For once there is the fact that their music seems not to be bound to time or places, but in a way it always is rooted in its time and place to a certain degree. I think this is because they are generally intellegible, which could be a potential of painting too, especially abstract painting. For if you want to make a timeless statement in any art form you cannot narrate too personal, individual stories, which would only lead to the trivial and therefore will be unimportant tomorrow. But I think as an artist you should look behind the all day stuff and make people feel addressed as human beings in itself.
The other possibility is to make the work so intimate that everyone is touched by this intimacy. U2 does both and more:
Another thing about U2's music is their ability to convey something which is not really measurable 1:1 on any scale, - spirituality. It stems from the interconnection of all people being involved in the creative process, their personal backgrounds, attitudes, aims and requests and it happens on a meta-level.
Spirituality is also very important in painting because it elevates the painting above its asthetic level and gives meaning to it.
How this spirituality exactly happens remains inexplicable and leaves a trace of the enigmatic which real art usually implies. To this transcendental aspects in the music of U2 I made two triptychs last year: "Gate" and "Gate through the Playboy Mansion".
Flexibility and Development
In addition to that there is the large and ever evolving spectrum of their music which makes it possible to have many different aspects in their work but still keep their position. To have that is an important point in painting too and absolutely necessary to avoid stagnation. It makes it more easy to keep trying to surpass oneself, moving gently forward.
Paintings to U2:
"Ultraviolet 1" 2008
"Ultraviolet 2" 2008
"Ultraviolet 3" 2008
"Ultraviolet 4" 2008
"Cowboy Software" 2008
"See – Through Dress" 2007
"The Real Thing" 2007
"Even Better than the Real Thing" 2007
"Grace 1 + 2" 2007
"TomTom and Eloise" 2006
"Slow Dancing" 2006
"Gate through the Playboy Mansion" 2006