IN A MAGIC MACHINE WITH REINHARD SCHEIBNER
Interview By MIP on August 19, 2010
Fresh from our interview with Berlin artist Reinhard Scheibner, a man, who once met is hard to forget. Reinhard, stiff, starched, stylish, with a presence at once awkward yet terribly imposing. A presence underlined with a severe German accent that comes at you with unforced depth. In all, here stood the grand-master of the dramatic pause - donned, oddly I thought, with super-sharp Calvin Klein tortoise-rimmed glasses.
That was my first impression, the blink. Then came the two hours I then spent with him in his apartment, sifting through his stunningly crafted and terrifying paintings and etchings, photographs and sculptures which has left me with a taste I do not know the flavour of. Arseholes, cocks, pussies, shit and dicks in place of the heads or bodies of the participants in everyday world scenes. People shopping, eating, walking in the park as grotesque tabooed caricatures of filth that I can only think to describe (and I doubt Scheibner would mind) as, twisted. And I didn't yet mention the stroll after to the local cemetery where Scheibner often sketches because of its 'intense silence'.
But you'd be wrong to dismiss Scheibner as a lewd shocktician, glossing over a lack of talent in some other department. Indeed I can't remember feeling I was in the presence of a more skilled artist in my life. Painting by feet, painting by left foot, painting blind, painting with left hand... Scheibner would place restrictions on his means of production, 'to', he says 'take away the desire to get it right, because', he continues, 'you will never get it right.'
Why would an artist choose to paint blind? Why spend 3 months etching the image of an SS officer beating a prisoner surrounded by tourists? Why bronze a clay sculpture of a piece of shit? To get to the heart of the art? To improve as an artist? A symbol of autophobia? To be free?
Whatever motivates Scheibner to paint, etch, sculpt and photograph what he does the way he does, it is clear he has the shrewdest artistic eye, enveloping the horrors and humours of society as he sees it. He painstakingly leads you to, with a left hand in the dark, our nightmares and pleasures together sublime.
Scheibner was unable to answer my final question of the interview, which was;
If you were the owner of a magic machine, which could take you any place, any time, could turn you into any person in the future or past, how would you use the machine.'
Upon checking my email however, in my inbox waiting, was this;
SUBJECT: MAGIC MACHINE
I knew the minute I enter my door, I will remember something I forgot to say while you were there. It is the last question I didn't really know how to answer, because I have a long time ago given up on all 'What if' dreams. But there is one, I always liked since I heard the story of Everett Ruess, a young man from Washington State, who made large trips to the wilderness of the West, since he was 13 or 14. Still wild some hundred years ago. He always went alone with one or two donkeys, his only companions. On his last trip at 19 he just disappeared, only his donkeys were found, grazing on a peaceful little valley. Was he murdered, eaten by animals, or did he kill himself, they never found out.
So, if you would offer me this magic-machine again (I know I missed my chance!) then I would jump on it, and nobody will ever see a glimpse of me again.
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MIP is a film-production and online broadcast company. Since 2004 it has produced an archive of over 50 films in London, New York, Berlin and Tel-Aviv. Each film is part of an ongoing sequence where each is a precursor for the next. We are currently filming in Brazil and North America to complete a series of 100 films, which will be broadcast online and exhibited in each city we film in this autumn 2010.