Just loving Stuttgart, Germany-based artist Fabian Treiber's paintings! They find a sort of weightlessness between abstraction and representation, where simplified, painterly objects seem to sometime even float on top of the surface. Also, who wouldn't envy his studio? So happy to share this wonderful interview here, and find more information at the links below!
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Hello Fabian! Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I was born only a few kilometres of away from Stuttgart, Germany. When I decided to apply to the academy, I was working as an IT specialist in a company. It was horrible - so I followed my naive wish to get happy and study painting.
What first interested you in making art, or painting?
I think my first desire was to do something with my own hands and get in touch with material. I love having dialogue between the material and myself, always trying to find the right vocabulary. I was fascinated by pictures and visual attractions since I was a child, but the decision to do paintings has more in common with my interest in "telling stories by fragments," I think. For me, a painting is in some way an isolated media, including its own physics, rules and space. And I'm still fascinated by that.
Can you tell me a bit more about your work?
Maybe it is easier for me to tell you something about my interests as they relate to my work, or my "research topic." Over the years, I always tried to find the right expression for my attitude. I think most artists act like this. I didn't have any fixed thoughts which I tried to "illustrate." It was more of a dialogue between me, the material, and the paintings. Now I know that I'm interested in narrative structure itself, which fills out a kind of space between the known and the unknown, or in other words, between representational realities and autonomous forms. Sometimes it feels like I'm making paintings which contain painting itself. 'Cause there must always be this "moment," when you fall into this gap which I tried to describe. I like it the most, when you recognize raw material and at the same time it is telling you something directly.
What is your process like? How do you get started on a piece?
So, most of my works start with structures and tracks from my painting tools to create a kind of system, in which I as an author can take place. Usually at this time I get a loose hunch where it can take me, and I get an idea, which I try to express within my vocabulary. I often use simple tools like sheets of paper where I scribble with a cutting knife to find new forms. As I said, I'm interested in narration; I'm convinced that it is also based on contexts and signs. I'm fascinated by the fact that a sheet of paper which looks on one hand like a foot or something, can be on the other hand - in another context or even better in another painting - look like a glass of wine. Following this tracks and finding this "way" to new sovereign, autonomous paintings is my goal.
Do you have any particularly significant influences, or mentors, who have impacted your practice?
I think my practice is mostly influenced by my professor Reto Boller. He intended always that there must be something obligatory in a good artwork. And he taught me, first, to find the right vocabulary for that within my work. On my opinion, he didn't teach me a special way of practice, he only helped me to name my interest. Besides that there are some artists whose work I adore. Just to name a few of them for example: Fernand Leger, Copley, Baumeister, Guston, Raoul de Keyser and Christine Streuli, Katherine Bernhardt, Gert und Uwe Tobias...
You work in a variety of media; do you have a favorite medium? What do you like most about it?
There are several projects or installations in other media for exhibitions, but all of them contain my "painting theory." Like the "in situ" installation of my last exhibition at Villa Merkel, "Staring into Space," in which I tried to offer the spectator a new look on painting itself but mostly to give an introduction to my attitude.
What is your studio space like?
I am working in an old, small, carpentry shop in Stuttgart. It was very hard to find, and it is a rare space in the city, because most places are too expensive. I'm very comfortable. In 2016 I got a grant from the city for young artists - so the city of Stuttgart helps me for 4 years with the rent.
What do you consider to be the most challenging or difficult aspect of pursuing art seriously, especially as a recent graduate?
In general, I think it's the fact that you are your own best friend and your biggest enemy at the same time. Which means you have to decide and decide and decide... with all the consequences. As an author or artist, you are alone with your decisions. But this fact is at the same time stimulating me. Because it is a strange privilege.
I think especially in paintings, every decision is in some way "absolute." People think you can paint over it, but the truth is that the physics of paintings is not so plain as everybody might think. So as a recent graduate, I'm trying to stay in touch with my colleagues and the art scene around me. This is something necessary after the academy I think.
What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do?
Oh, there are several rewarding things. Appreciation for my work from colleagues and "casual" spectators is always great, and I love these dialogues about art itself - it is such a beautiful topic, because there's almost no right and no wrong. But what I like the most is the fact that I have the chance to get in touch with so many different, interesting people.
Have you received any advice that you refer to often? Is there any advice you've received that you are grateful you didn't take?
No, not really. Maybe yes, but right now, nothing seems unnecessary. The only thing I remember is, that I was often told to concentrate on one aspect in my work, but now I kno, that it is an inseparable part of my attitude -- that my focus is not a visible aspect which labels my work in some way, but rather, as I said before, the vocabulary itself is the subject. But this was something I had to find out over the years at the academy.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or other projects?
Yes, I do. I have to say that I had a good year, or you could say a good start. So right now I'm working with two graphic designers on two solo catalogs which will be published in 2017. And besides that, there are two solo shows I'm working on. One of them will be in Frankfurt in March and the second at the end of May in Cologne. So I'm very happy and also very excited on 2017.
Anything else you would like to add?
I just want to say, thank you so much Kate!!!
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