Exclusive interview with the emerging video artist Kilian Kretschmer

Meet Kilian Kretschmer, an emerging video artist from Germany. We're catching up on his inspiration, his future and his heroes...

Tell us a bit about yourself as an introduction
How did it all start for you and are you now with a gallery?
I was raised in Kassel, Germany. Thanks to my father, who studied art here, I understood early on that art is about making art. My genre is performance and video art. I like standing in front of an audience, even if I sometimes need to escape after a show. I've always been shy but I am really rewarded being in front of an audience.

I studied media art in Karlsruhe, Germany. On myfirst day at the University of the Arts and Design, I got to know my good friend Thorsten Schwanninger, who I’ve exhibited with many
times since, and we talked about the possibilities of connecting a drum set and a video interactively. I associated the rattle of old film projectors with a drum crescendo, and a year later, in 2006, we came up with my first performance, SCOMP. This performance was a big success and I was encouraged to keep on creating performances and video installations with a performative character. Not all of them have to do with my passion for playing the drums, but it is a recurrent element. I am not represented by a gallery yet, but I’ve recently started investigating for one.

What is the meaning behind your art, if there's one?
I’m motivated to map out the borders between reality and the virtual  I connect both fields using synchronization and comparisons. I talked about this at a lecture I gave on “the art of synchronization” in Ekaterinburg in 2009. With my performances and installations, I engage with the issue of transferring cinematic and virtual actions into reality. I bring up the questions of what is left behind, where the differences lie, and what the consequences of a direct transmission are.

The boundary between reality and the virtual world which in my work SUPERPOSITION is literally represented by a wall, also connects the two fields. The difference and the similarity between borders and connections is something that I deal with in many of my works. I try to create a sense of them by generating equal proportions of time-based and spatially-orientated properties in my art. I also like to follow a sense of balance.

Augmented reality, virtual reality and digital signage accompany us in everyday life. The technical developments behind these fields allow the borders between virtual and reality to blur. In my art, my priority is the emotional realisation of the positive and negative effects of this progress.

Tell us about the favourite piece you've made?
&4& remains very important to me. When I made this work, I found my way. It is also a performance and one that runs in a loop. The audience is encouraged to move freely around the work. I play with the perception of the audience, employing it to switch between time-based and spatial perception. I create a mutual juncture between both forms of perception. A pause in time, and in space, that both end synchronously. In this piece, I re-enact a film that consistently stops at a certain point and starts again at the moment when I return to this point in reality.

Amongst others, I was inspired by the montage of filmmaker Artavazd Peleshyan, who I assisted during the first year of my studies. I had read a few books on film theory before that, but his way of defining a space in time within a film got me interested in trying out something similar on stage. As I said, I’m interested in the transferal that goes on between cinematic means of expression and reality.

&4& was my first real experience with an audience, because they were physically very close to me, and for myself as a performance artist, because the first time I showed it, it went on for an hour. The room was completely full and the people didn’t want to leave, so I kept on running it in a loop. I was trapped inside my performance and I enjoyed it.

What is your next project?
I’m currently finishing an original-style video installation. I just need a title. It consists of two CRT monitors from a video wall that stand two meters across from each other, facing inwards. Between the monitors, two mirrors in a sand heap form a two-meter high, rectangular pillar. If the viewer stands close enough to the pillar of mirrors, he/she will see the left monitor with their left eye and the right monitor with their right eye. Thus a three-dimensional impression of a stereoscopic 3D video is formed on the monitors, and you see me shoveling a sand heap in front of a mirror.

Because the video is also mirrored down the centre line, I can be seen twice in the
mirror while I am shovelling, whereupon an absolutely symmetrical sand heap arises out of nothing in the middle of the picture. The video shows a perspective that is impossible to achieve in reality. This work is about the separation of action and reaction, and false reflection. The viewer sees me shoveling in the mirror and the rise of the sand heap, but not in the same way as the sand flies from the shovel onto the heap.

Which other artists are you close to and who would you dream to
collaborate with?
Some works were developed in collaboration, like SCOMP and BEATMIKADO. A few

days ago I finished a flip book for the performance I want to become a millionaire by Thomas Geiger.

My website was designed with Nicolaz Groll. During my studies I frequently exhibited with Lukas Kindermann and Benedikt Dichgans. At the end of last year, I took part of a group exhibition at the Bonnefantenmuseum Roermond. The title NACHTFAHRT was borrowed from a work by Roman Signer, which was also part of the exhibition. The artists, including Roderick Hietbrink, Studio Oneindigheid, David Heitz and myself, were all selected because of their closeness to Signer.

My work can also be compared for example to Dan Graham, Anna Jermolaewa (my former professor) or Axel Kretschmer (my father). And since I’ve never quite let go of the dream of shooting a movie, I would love to work with a Hollywood actor, even if it would become a performance in the end. Ideally with Leonardo DiCaprio.