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An Interview with Cornelius Grunt

"Start by telling us about you and how you began making art."

I am Cornelius Grunt, 32 years old and born in 1985 in Entrup, Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany and now I live in Bielefeld, Germany. My first contacts with art was music by writing lyrics and producing hip hop, techno, and other instrumentals where I even can’t define the genre.

"Interesting. At what point did you make the transition to collage making?"

Collages came very late to my life. I accidentally visited the vernissage of HERR BEINLICH - Contemporary Fine Art Space in Bielefeld and saw some pictures I first recognised as prints from digital works but on a second more detailed look I realised different layers and that those works are glued. One day after that I bought myself what I thought would be needed and started right away and never stopped again. If I see something I really like and I am interested in, I almost always feel the urge to try it myself. 

"How has living in Germany influenced your work as an artist?"

That is really difficult to answer, because I don’t know how it would have influenced me, if I would have grown up in another country. Somehow I should have to take the point of view from "nowhere" like philosopher Thomas Nagel says.

For a long time I was telling myself I am not german but I realised that not feeling german is something that could be part of german identity. Everything I ever experienced influences me, therefore growing up in Germany and many other things, emerges me to something new, and in my mind identity is a big open irreducible process, close to emergence theories.


"Your questioning of what it means to be German is fascinating. What themes does your work relate to?"

I would never call myself an expert in any of this thematic areas but these are the subjects I pay close attention to: epistemology, panpsychism, new realism, physicalism and anti-physicalism, anti-science, antirealism, quantum physics, qualia-realism, psychology, radical constructivism, moral philosophy (categorical imperative) and advocatory ethics, state philosophy, determinism/indeterminism and free will, Zen Buddhism, meditation, nihilism, solipsism, holism, logical paradoxes, performative retorsion and all kind of thought experiments.

"The facial positions and removal of eyes in your work is striking and definitely reinforces the them of anti realism as well as the other schools of thought you mentioned. Is experimental photography/collage relevant? Is it political?"

Yes I think it is relevant but I am not sure if it is necessary to separate between different art disciplines, at least in my case. Because I would like to go even further and create new hybrids combined out of many art disciplines, including experimental and 'classic' photography. Clipskills also helped me with some shoots we did together with me and my Girlfriend. 

"That's the beauty of the word Image Making, it allows us to collect many art disciplines from collage to CGI together and discuss them collectively."

In my mind experimental photography and art could enable anybody who is willing to extant ones own limited perception on one subject, topic or phenomenon. It is also very important to communicate about these different types of perception to get to a bigger and more universal holistic view, even more to understand and accept that there are different types of perception and to tolerate any of them. 

"What role does colour play in your work?"

I really like and prefer black and white pictures but something new emerges from the combination with powerful colour contrasts. It relates to the aspect of qualia-realism, because colours and other qualia are strong arguments or even evidence against the physicalism. I am not sure that physicalism is wrong, but I am pretty sure, that it is incomplete at the moment.  

On the one hand I try to reduce the work by using just some paper fragments and combining them with a simple and strong one coloured background. But it’s not just the colour contrast which is interesting, I also like to combine elements and materials that on the first look don't harmonise at all.

"Such simple collages make the pieces so impactful and photographic."

For a long time I really tried to understand the structure of reality or reality itself, and I thought philosophy, epistemology and science would deliver answers, but somehow the exact opposite happened. There were no answers, just more and bigger and way more complex questions arise. Words, numbers and formulas are just reduc-tions of complexity. But art is way more limitless and therefor it sometimes feels like creation and freedom, in a way communication freed from the limits of language.


"Digital vs analogue collage making. What is your preference?"

At the moment I prefer analogue collages but I also I like to combine both analogue and digital or I like to use own pictures/photographs for collages. I would not say that one is better than the other, I myself just like to work with my hands and directly with the material instead of arranging elements on a computer screen. I don't want to limit myself only to analogue collages, I am also very curious about many other aspects of art and I want to combine them. I already started using electronic waste and other objects to create some kind of assemblages, or painting on top of collages or adding animated visuals behind my paper works so you could call it maybe mixed media artworks.

"Thank you."

Discover more on Cornelius Grunt here. 

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