Interview with Abel Burger, "Beautiful Weirdo" for Instinct Berlin
What was your upbringing like and what were your first artistic encounters and expressions?
I didn't do an art school. I wanted to, by my parents at this period, weren't super happy about this idea. and I wasn't strong enough to take that decision despite their refusal. At school, I started to draw comics about the life of my friends and I, in classes. I wasn't a bad student but I was just interested only in a few topics. I always thought that, that kind of theoretical learning was stupid. I tried to respect my professors as much as I could but not at all the French system of education. Art was a parallel world which was in fact, my reality.
Who are you art heroes?
Those who are always searching. Art, I mean, the process of creation is kind of a meditation for me, and I am always looking to see, respect and cross my boundaries. I like people who are able to show honestly their emotions in their work, by transmitting them. There is a small line between selfishness and empathy.
What does art mean to you?
I would like to say the freedom of expressing things without being obliged to justify or explain our work. I like to think about art without thinking about good/bad/aesthetics/claiming things. Art creates emotions for humans. Art is sometimes for me a kind of alter ego and if people want to ask me what I wanted to share I will just ask back : What are you feeling about it?
How important is intimacy to your work and why?
Intimacy is an old friend from another country and he doesn't have internet. I always try to catch him and sometimes it happens, and I am grateful for these moments... I thought I was better with metaphors.
I am not a group person. I can't focus on several persons at the same time, I like to be there for one person, and share real things. sometimes small talks are relaxing but yeah, definitely, I think intimacy is quite changing through years, like quickly. and I'm interested by learning about people, exchanging, sharing, caring, to be fed by real conversations. Maybe because there is so much fake things in this world, that I couldn't continue to live that way without being true to myself. as an artist i can show things. i chose to show emotions and bring people together in a way. That's why these things I'm trying to explain are shit but you should understand me if we met. (and say that art is saying things without being obliged to explain them.. I'm smiling)
How do you pick a subject matter for a show?
Feeling. I can feel that sometimes, someone is close to me and I want to choose him/her/they. and sometimes I feel nothing and feeling nothing is also feeling something and I choose him/her/they for the same reason.
Do you consider your self a weirdo?
Totally. But being in a community of weirdos no longer makes me be a weirdo. We will definitely be weirdos for the world and that's just a fact.
What's the role of the weirdo in society?
I guess it's about transforming the society... into weirdos ?...
No seriously, I prefer to think about what a weirdo is bringing to him/her/themselves, because it will be what society could see and experiment. I think this is something needed to open the mind, spread positivity. Other people could speak about that better than me.
How did the get involved with Village and Instinct?
Simple. when I was in France, I wrote an application to Instinct. I was like : How can I show to these guys that I really really want to work with them ? Then I met Eric in Berlin, and that was easy and honest. He gave me the opportunity and the support.
How has your time been there so far?
Intense, exhausting, rewarding. People are sharing true things. I can totally feel that. But I also have to deal with emotions, and after that to create with them. I am still searching for rhythm but now I feel almost cool and quiet. I love learning, and the way I learn is up to me so how can I could be more happy ?
What is the project you working all about?
I'm working on a project called "Beautiful Weirdo" which is about intimacy, and people, making portraits of them, with paintings, writings, pictures. It's about a meeting, one hour, some questions, some improvisation, but always with honesty. What is intimacy today ? I have no fucking idea. It's because I don't know, that I want to know.
What do you hope to accomplish with it?
I don't know and I hope I will not know. Exploring being free of expectations. That's pretty hard you know but I care about that. We will see at the end. I just created a frame, a structure, but now, I'm just exploring.
When is the opening and what can we expect?
The opening is on January 11th, you will see all this work I've done, and probably performances of other artists, but this is still a surprise..
What comes after that?
An art book about my work, which will be realized by a great publisher, so it would be a beautiful object I guess, one more collective exhibition there, at the village, one in France, and I already have the subject of my next work which is still close to this one. In french : pour toi la vie mon amour violent, which can be translated in : for you life, my violent love.