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Philip Grözinger - Philip Grözinger: The Vector Interview by Peter Gregorio <|>
VECTOR: I’m here with Artist, Philip Grözinger. This is the first Vector Interview we have ever done.
We were introduced by German artist Heiner Franzen, who came up with the idea to do an interview for the Journal. OK, I am going to start with eleven questions
VECTOR: Yeah eleven! But they’re easy. Some of them are really quick.

VECTOR: What is your favorite color?
GRÖZINGER: [Laughs] At the moment my favorite color is, by Williamsburg, well, how would you pronounce this?
VECTOR: I have no idea, Dianthus Pink? Rose pink.
GRÖZINGER: At the moment I really... I found it in the shop.
VECTOR: Yeah I know this company... Williamsburg, Brooklyn right?
GRÖZINGER: I really went around it for about a year before I tried it out.
VECTOR: And then now you’re using it all the time.
GRÖZINGER: No, not all the time.
VECTOR: [Laughs] I know what you mean. I get obsessed with certain colors, Cerulean blue.
GRÖZINGER: I’m not normally up for pinkish. I had to get used to pink, but at the moment this is my color. I really like it. It changes, but this is it right now.

VECTOR: What music you have been listening to?
GRÖZINGER: Well lately David Sylvian again. I listened to Japan and stuff like that, and Einstürzende Neubauten, and Blixa Bargeld has a new record out. I quite like it, and so I started listening to the old stuff.
VECTOR: What genre of music is it?
GRÖZINGER: Actually, its noise. Very good! like, uh, what they found on the street, and they made music with it. They were quite famous for a while, and they just stopped... I think they still do produce records. Blixa Bargeld still does records, and Blixa went on to do something with Nick Cave. I listen to Nick Cave...
VECTOR: Yeah, I like Nick Cave!
GRÖZINGER: …and I went back to classic stuff.  Not just techno, and I hope that’s enough.

VECTOR: What are your top 5 favorite movies?
GRÖZINGER: For me, “Blade Runner”, sorry to say that, …Kitschy! “Soylent Green”, and Uhh…
VECTOR: Love it!  It’s made out of people...
GRÖZINGER: What’s that one with the sand man, where they have to kill people with a clock, with Michael York. It came out in 1977 with “Star Wars”, and it got busted by “Star Wars”, because everyone went and watched “Star Wars”.
VECTOR: I can’t remember.
GRÖZINGER: …and, I like that movie where they go to the city and they get killed by the robots. The last film with Yul Brynner and the robots kill everybody. That’s a really good film as well. Actually, I like all the Dystopian films from the 70’s and 80’s.
VECTOR: Yeah! They were really good.
GRÖZINGER: “Solaris”… and actually, I like “Star Wars”… I have to admit, I’m sorry!
VECTOR: I do too! I actually love really bad… I like really good science fiction, but I also like really bad science fiction.
GRÖZINGER: Yeah! and “Zardoz” is one of my absolute favorites. “Zardoz” is the one with Sean Connery  and the people who live for ages with the big heads.
VECTOR: Oh Yeah, the big heads! I know that one. They, control the society. The big head that floats around.
VECTOR: That’s a great movie! Nobody is making movies like that anymore. [Laughs] I don’t know… But that movie is really something.
GRÖZINGER: I think every movie that came from Philip K. Dick’s… even when Spielberg did “Minority Report”, I even like that, because even under Hollywood, you can still see his paranoid, dystopian, future. They cant destroy it totally.
VECTOR: No! You still have the cultural critique, which comes through… even if it’s a Hollywood film [Laughs]
GRÖZINGER: Well yeah, of course! All that…
VECTOR: I like that movie too… because, they actually consulted with scientists and sociologists, to see… they didn’t just like speculate. They tried to get a real answers of what the future would be.
GRÖZINGER: Even that film that went a bit wrong “Elysium” was a bit funny, because they took the sole idea of a big people living like 100 kilometers up is taken from the original plans from NASA, one to one, did you see “Elysium”? where they go up and try… it was a bit strange. Last year, Matt Damon…
VECTOR: Oh wait what was it called… it was… was it the one where he’s a clone?
GRÖZINGER: That’s the son of… “Moon”, That’s the son of David Bowie. It was actually quite good!
VECTOR: “Moon” was great! and then they made another one with Tom Cruise, which was almost the same thing.
GRÖZINGER: Now? Came out, Now! That was the one where the alien race that came and they have to kill everyone. Yeah, but that was ok… I think its quite funny with David Bowie’s son, he must have grown up with all these dystopian movies and when you see his movies, you can sort of see…
VECTOR: …and Bowie did, “The Man who Fell to Earth”.
GRÖZINGER: Yeah! and he did another one with, uh...
VECTOR: It’s one of my father’s favorite movies.
GRÖZINGER: That’s ok as well. I didn’t get it the first time, because I was about 8, and my parents weren’t into it, went to the cinema with me, and sort of… “this is so boring” because, I was used to Star Wars.
VECTOR: Yeah! and it was slow! there’s no action.
GRÖZINGER: Yeah, exactly!
VECTOR: And we were kids.
GRÖZINGER: Ok, [Looking up the titles for the film names we couldn’t remember] “Future World!”, one is called “Future World”, with the robots who kill everybody. I think you would like it! And, one was called… Um… Ah, its really good, because their only aloud to be, sort-of 30, and they have a clock, and it turns red, flashes red, and then they get thrown into a carousel.
VECTOR: I know that movie! its called, “Logan’s Run”.
GRÖZINGER: “Logan’s Run”, it’s one of my favorite films!
VECTOR: It’s a great film!

VECTOR: Have you ever had your heartbroken?
GRÖZINGER: It started off in the first grade, when the girl I actually really liked very much came up to me and said, "Are you in love with me?" Stupid as I was I said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah", "Well I'm not into you, I am into your friend!"
VECTOR: I love it, because that basically… you must have been devastated too, because you're like…
VECTOR: That was your first heart break?
GRÖZINGER: I took quite a while to get over it.
VECTOR: Have you gotten over it?
GRÖZINGER: Not really, that’s why I do art. No, but in-a-way that was quite interesting. The author Johnathan Franzen, he talks about how he grew up in the 60’s, I don't know if it's true or not but he… It's very funny! Because, I can relate to it. He talks a lot about, “Charley Brown” and the 60's things. I can remember going to the public library and getting the hardcover Charley Brown stuff and reading them.
VECTOR: I always watched it on TV, I didn't even know there were books.
GRÖZINGER: The comic books are really good, especially the 60's, and then it went soft in a way. So, I could relate to that book! He describes his feelings about love, and it felt more real then your own childhood in a way!

VECTOR: If you could go anywhere in the world for a year, where would you go?
GRÖZINGER: I think I would go not to any one place. I would like to go to New Zealand. I have been around the Northern Hemisphere very much. I’ve managed to get just under the equator. I’ve been to Indonesia, but I’ve never been further South then that.
VECTOR: Is there something that you want to see there or know about?
GRÖZINGER: I would like to go to Argentina.
VECTOR: Spend time on the other side of the hemisphere!
GRÖZINGER: See the other stars. I would like to have the idea of hanging in the void, spinning around. You don’t get it here. You could still believe that your in the Middle Ages, floating on a flat surface.
VECTOR: Its true a lot of times it feels very flat, we go back and forth horizontally.
GRÖZINGER: If I go to America, I see the same stars, and if I got to Russia, I see the same. That changed when I went to Indonesia. It was the first time I felt…
GREGORIO: I had that experience, I don’t think I was south enough… I spent time in India and the first… I remember the sky was different, the Moon was in a different angle.  Somehow, I would look up at night and I could just feel, it was all different.
GRÖZINGER: Yeah! It’s really interesting to see the Southern Cross.

VECTOR: What you think humanity will be like in 25 years?
GRÖZINGER: I Think it’s going to be a bit like, “Soylent Green” if it goes on like this.
VECTOR: So you think there’s going to be some kind of breakdown, like some kind of… where governments…
GRÖZINGER: Yeah! Its not going to happen in 25 years, but it’s getting there, in a way!
VECTOR: Do you think it’s because of pollution, technology, or just not enough food & water, or resources?
GRÖZINGER: Because we’re too much people!
VECTOR: Population!
GRÖZINGER: Population and destroying everything! We are still destroying everything, even if we know that it’s going to kill us. So, anyway it’s not going to be horribly, I think in 15 years, but in 25 years, it’s going to… I don’t know when we are going to get there.
VECTOR: Do you think it’s going to be a slow thing, where we are kind of unaware in someway, or do you think there will be some kind of significant event?
GRÖZINGER: Well it’s speeding up now isn’t it, so we’re losing all our ice, we’re losing all our air to breath, we’re losing the food… and if that isn’t enough we’re killing off a lot of people with cataclysm, it’s sort of killing itself. I don’t know…
VECTOR: And then the other thing is… the funny thing is that, in some way, the planet doesn’t really care. It’s us! we are hurting ourselves.
GRÖZINGER: Absolutely! There is an old joke where, two planets meet each other and one says, “oh you look really shitty” and the other one says, “yeah, I’ve got humans here” the first one, “you’ll get over it, they will kill each other.”
VECTOR: Do you think there is anyway… I mean look, we’ve survived this long, and we’ve survived through some serious things. Do think there is anyway to reverse this from happening?
GRÖZINGER: No! of course, and then we will…
VECTOR: It’s too much?
GRÖZINGER: Not even that, but if you think about it, we’ve not even been here for so long. It seems like a blink of an eye. If you think of dinosaurs, how long they… millions of years. But, I think at the moment we are… it goes back, if you’re nice you can say it goes back about 200,000 years, but actually it’s 20,000 years. So that is nothing! And, we’ve managed in 20,000 years to really rip us apart… I don’t know… or it’s a success story, we will all been fine, and develop warp engines, and go to other…
VECTOR: So it’s like, unless we do some kind of “magic technology” thing, [Laughs]  because, I don’t know, are we really going to change our behavior at all?
VECTOR: Yeah, I don’t think so either!
GRÖZINGER: Then it gets worse, as you can see… In small stuff… Like, I’m still flabbergasted that they managed to get rid of what you call it, “FCKW”, that stuff that ripped a hole in the Ozone layer, but probably that was easy, because where not getting… We are producing more, what’s it called in English?
VECTOR: Carbon
GRÖZINGER: Carbon… We’re trying to lower it, and what happens? It’s getting more, so that says a lot! And, I can understand that, because the Chinese sort of face it with, “why should we bla bla bla”.
VECTOR: Well, if they want to live… I mean look America’s… we’ve been the brunt of it, but now even if we make drastic changes it almost means nothing, because now you have India, and China completely developed, wanting to live the American lifestyle.
GRÖZINGER: So it’s your fault!
VECTOR: Yeah maybe… I mean, I think it would’ve happened without us.
GRÖZINGER: I think it’s quite strange that the Germans are trying to, sort of change…
VECTOR: You are on the front line of trying to make changes.
GRÖZINGER: Yeah, but, it wont change anything, because we’re 80 million, and that doesn’t change anything.
VECTOR: It probably doesn’t even… Like if you take the entire carbon emissions of Germany, it probably compares to maybe a few cities in China, or the US… But it’s still important I think, because you’re setting an example.
GRÖZINGER: Yeah… Dying Beauty! We can, I don’t know... I’m not very…
VECTOR: You sound pretty bleak about it!
GRÖZINGER: Yeah, but I think the problem with me is… I think the whole generation, growing up in West Germany in the beginning of the 80’s, end of 80’s, was pretty bleak, and very strange, and you grew up with this, “no future thing”… I think you don’t get rid of that, it’s just what you relate to.
VECTOR: Well I mean I grew up with… I thought for sure that we were going to have a kind of nuclear… And, I’m sure you felt that even more. I mean you were here. This is the epicenter, it would’ve started here.
GRÖZINGER: I still think… I’m still a bit nervous about this whole Putin, Russia, America, Ukraine… shooting down airplanes… going to develop into a real strange thing now.

VECTOR: Why did you become an Artist?
GRÖZINGER: Actually in the beginning, I was going to be an Archeologist. Through going to museums and seeing all the things from Rome and Byzantium, I got interested in art and somehow I started… And the second reason is my Mother read me, “Lord of the Rings”, and I did an illustration of the whole book when I was 7 or 8, and that started me off.
VECTOR: She was reading a book to you and you had to do it visually! There was something about you that needed to make drawings about it.
GRÖZINGER: I always did drawings. I wasn’t very good at drawing. I was always sort of in awe of my brother who could…
GRÖZINGER: I think mine [Pointing to a painting and laughs] looks the same now, more or less. I always think I do take quite a lot of… I always think, “where does this come from” and, “why do I do the art?”, and I think its because… it’s a lot to do with being heart broken.
VECTOR: With that girl in the first grade?
GRÖZINGER: No! [Laughs], if you look at artists, it seems to be that they are always the misfits, in a way. They start to express themselves through art, because they can’t express… I think one of the reasons I did art, in a way is, because I always felt the odd one out, and the only way I could relate was doing stuff… I mean, when I came to art school, I was quite happy, because I was at that moment… I wasn’t the odd one out anymore, I started to be normal.
VECTOR: So you found your people or your subculture?
GRÖZINGER: In a way, it felt like coming home, and I didn’t need to explain myself all the time. Before art, it was always about explaining myself… being strange.
VECTOR: I feel very similar!

VECTOR: Why are you here? Why are you based in Berlin?
GRÖZINGER: A typical Berlin answer would be… I came here in 92, I did a lot of club culture, [Laughs] and then I just stayed here.
VECTOR: Kind of like the, “New York” thing. There is more action, more happening!
GRÖZINGER: Yeah! But probably I am always thinking, should I have gone to another… Is it perhaps just me being sort-of, not prepared to go to another city, or perhaps I should leave for a while. I don’t know… I really like Berlin, because its so relaxed in-a-way, and you get enough culture. You get enough people, “international” who are in the city. So it’s good!
VECTOR: Where did you come from?
GRÖZINGER: I came from Braunschweig.
VECTOR: Not much happening there?
GRÖZINGER: No, Not enough! 250,000 People and they all hate art [Laughs]. There was an art school that was quite good for me, but everybody else, if you go out of this comfort zone… Say you’re an, “Artist” they will look at you and say you’re a, “bit strange”. So, I can’t tolerate this anymore! It’s one place you can visit and go, “I am an Artists” and people look at you as if you’re an, “alien”. It took years for me to say I was an artist without stuttering.

VECTOR: What is your Art? Why do you make what you make? Why are you making these paintings?
GRÖZINGER: Yes, I thought about that quite a lot, but I finally found the answer. I think, because it’s basically got to do with being half English, half German... Always the odd one out, and so, I’m doing it as a way, I think... I am doing like German Romantic Art, and then putting in English humor, and so that’s why the paintings, “are-as-they-are”. In-a-way, I think that’s more or less what it’s about... Finding... Putting, two strange experiences of my life together.
VECTOR: It seems like there is this push to do things other than painting. Is there a reason why you are still painting?
GRÖZINGER: Yeah, because I always like being old school. When I was up in art school, nobody wanted to do printmaking, so I did printmaking. Everybody painted when I was in art school, and then that stopped, and everybody did performance art, and I still did printmaking. I always painted, but I never showed any paintings. I only showed my line cuts, and after that I started painting again. I still think that... I don’t know. There is a lot still to be discovered in painting... In a way.
VECTOR: I think so!
GRÖZINGER: So why should you always do something... and spray it, or put it... I think there is a difference between... You just have to follow where the art takes you, and not the other way around! At the moment, it’s all about painting. I sometimes have to do other stuff, but I don’t know... It’s the thing I like the most!

VECTOR: What is the nature of art today?
GRÖZINGER: [Laughs] Money! I think in-a-way, a lot of people, and a lot of art, is about speculation. You have to see… who has what meaning of art… who has, of course the money. The art market, and that’s something completely different to art. So how do you describe… There’s only one word! There are so many different things going on at the moment. There is a big art market, like “Gagosian”, who owns more money then the whole German gallery scene put together, and there’s art that doesn’t need money. So it’s strange! I think, it’s still what it was always about. It still hasn’t changed. On one part, you have the people who, like the Roman Church, paid money for art that they could hang on their walls, “the art market”, and then on the other end, there are people who are interested in finding out more about what’s going on, and they do art that can’t be shown. So, I don’t know… There hasn’t been a big change from what art is today compared to what it used to be. The only change is that there aren't any “ism's” anymore… “Expressionism” or whatever. The only difference is that everything is now, allowed!
VECTOR: Everything! There’s a market for everything!
GRÖZINGER: I don’t know. But of course at the end of it… At the moment, a lot of people don’t know what to do with their money. It’s all about speculation, in-a-way!

VECTOR: All right, last question. Why do you keep doing this? Why haven’t you given up? (As you put it)
GRÖZINGER: I don’t know, I really don’t know. At the beginning I was unsure about myself. I had to learn a lot… It’s just part of me now! It’s not like a job, it’s what I love to do! The good example is, people tend to say to me, “I have to go on holiday”, and for me, “holiday” is always terrible, because I can’t go into the studio. Everyday without art, in-a-way, makes me nervous. After perhaps one week, it’s ok, but after one week, I want to go back to the studio. So holiday, this whole thing… I can of course… I don’t work so, I don’t need holiday. I do what I love to do, and being away from what you love is always terrible. So this way I keep on going… doing it!
Philip Grözinger