Johanna Binder / Abel, Carlo & Max Korinsky
Interspaces. Trieste Contemporanea Award

Trieste (I), Studio Tommaseo
April ― June 2014

TextConversation with Johanna BinderConversation with A., C. & M. Korinsky
The necessary strabismus
Daniele Capra

Painting and art that uses technology are considered to be two antipodal media, at least from a merely conceptual point of view, if we evaluate both the theoretical and operational assumptions and the pages of history that they have filled. Painting is indeed inextricably linked to its centuries-old history, characterized by continuous budding and radical pruning. New disciplines, instead, benefit from a tradition of not more than thirty years, in which many of the energies have been devoted to earning the status of work in the contemporary scene, leaving the niche of being only an attempt, an experimental and peripheral episode.

The speed of today, however, has actually made these two extremes a lot closer mixing and hybridizing positions, instruments and approaches, far beyond what one can imagine. Personally I find the definition of new media to be outdated, essentially for two reasons: the first one is that nowadays technology itself does not seem a novelty, since it is now historicized and present in art history books; the second one, far more important, is that the alienating effect of the work that uses technology has completely decayed, seeing as today we live centered around electronic devices (that help our telecommunications, mark our time or adjust our vital stream), electromagnetic and radio waves, to feel that technology is an extension of our body, its direct emanation.

If we use the same approach of cinema and videogames theorist, we could say that in recent years our approach has been immersive. It happens then, and not just for painting, that artists use technological tools (for example for the realization of three-dimensional rendering or for the development of imagines that will be then carried out/transferred on canvas); and it has frequently been observed how painting but a similar argument can be made for the others disciplines is made with devices that at first sight may seem far-removed from the art form. It is the case of the work conceived by the Korinsky brothers Abel, Marco and Max, in which a row of scanners are composing an image through slow movements of the lamps they are equipped with, reconstructing the concept of painting as a generative surface that is capable of reflecting in the eyes something different from itself.

Paradoxically, in the case of the final exhibition of the Trieste Contemporanea Award, even Johanna Binder’s works were not proper paintings, given the interesting volumetric analysis conducted on wooden frames and on the surface, that lead the research directly to the artist sculpture, contradicting the axiom of the two-dimensional work on canvas. If the captions and the materials by which the works are made are therefore not significant, not able to provide the zero degree of the work, even the definitions of the medium are not univocal, since a work can be part of, from the taxonomic point of view, different categories.

It is then of fundamental importance to search for interpretative keys through the exercise of lateral thinking, not merely considering exhaustive what you read, but also using a probabilistic approach. Therefore, strabismus is the most significant strategy for the viewer, as it allows simultaneous viewing – albeit imperfect – of non-adjacent territories.

As this exhibition describes, not only painting is made with all the technological help available (as the Korinsky brothers whom made an installation in which the sound produced by the device transmits the time variable), but sometimes painting seems to have lost its connotations by improvising (as in the cut paintings from Binder), in another role.
Thinking before painting
Interview with Johanna Binder

Daniele Capra: We’re here at Studio Tommaseo. In a couple of hours there will be the vernissage of the show of the Trieste Contemporanea Award won by you and Korinsky brothers. So Johanna, let’s talk about the very beginning. You attended classical music courses during your teen age-years, but then you decided to go to fine art academy. What happened?

Johanna Binder: I wanted to be able to create something by myself, not only to be interpreter of something that someone else wrote. I realized that around when I was seventeen. So I started to paint, just for my personal reason. After that I decided to attend the fine art academy…

DC: Which were your main activities there? What were you interested in?

JB: Drawing and a lot natural science. I wanted to learn the classical technique, as painting with many transparent color layers. So I started with realistic painting…

DC: Realistic painting? So different from the geometrical/sculptural works of today, which are based on patterns! How did your subjects change?

JB: I don’t know. I worked in a very narrative way, but I use to asked myself why I needed narration in painting and why represent three-dimensional subject/illusion. I didn’t have any answer, and still I haven’t. Everything started from that unanswered question.

DC: So you left this approach…

JB: I left all this subject but actually something still remains. I mean the sculptural approach. It’s still there and I’m trying to deal with it with different attitude.

DC: Ok. And what about music? Is still important for you? I think there is a nice sense of rhythm in your works, as in the stripes or dots…

JB: I don’t think so. Perhaps it’s about something dealing with visual and pictorial approach.

DC: How did you start to cut the canvas and make holes on it?

JB: I thought a lot, and still now it’s one of my unanswered questions, about the space and the illusion of space in a canvas. In the tradition the space is just represented on the surface of painting. Actually I think that third dimension, apart from the color structure, is on the space between the canvas and wall. I try to open this space and make it visible.

DC: So, you are interested on the space each work occupies and the surface we are not able to see…

JB: Of course! For me the main question is what is the front and what the backside of a painting. I’d like to change the definition of space in painting as two parts divided by the surface. And I’d like to make the relationships between the two faces become more equal.
For me a canvas with its structure is still an object, it’s an all-body. If I cut the object I can make the light visible…

DC: Also from the backside?

JB: Yes. I want to make the color pure light. In both sides.

DC: In some works you cut all the surface and let the canvas disappear. But the observer can see some colors in the wall.

JB: If textile part is removed and you put the structure frame against the wall you can see a specific form you usually never pay any attention to. My idea is make visible this form.

DC: But sometimes you like overlapping the levels, as the work you presented for the show of the prize, kind of combined paintings…

JB: Well… This is related to the old masters of painting, who painted with different layers of colors. I try to do the same with the frame structures.

DC: And what about colors of your works? How do you choose them?

JB: I used to select colors very strictly, with a subjective color system. But I changed my approach and I have now taken the freedom to choose the colors. I’m a painter, and I choose them according to the place and the light.

DC: But you use just twelve-fifteen pure colors…

JB: Maybe twenty! I used to use only pure colors, now I mixed them.

DC: And what is the project before painting?

JB: There are a lot of ideas paintings can dealt with and a lot of facilities you can’t avoid. If you want to make that visible you need to think about to the whole process before. You need to control everything you scheduled in your mind.

DC: How long does it take to make a painting? After you got the project is just execution time?

JB: It’s a long process and I need to rethink very often about all the steps. I made different tries until I find a solution, and that costs me a lot of patience. Often I delete the works which don’t satisfy me.

DC: So fierce! And what are your next projects?

JB: At moment I’m working at some paintings that disappear from the canvas. I’m trying to find out what an image is and if the canvas, which is left by the painting, could also serve as an image…
Between Sound and Light
Interview with Abel, Carlo & Max Korinsky

Daniele Capra: Daniele Capra: We’re here at Studio Tommaseo. Everything is ready for the show of the Trieste Contemporanea Award won by you and Johanna Binder. So let’s talk about your career. It’s not easy to be brothers. How did you begin and start working together?

Abel Korinsky: I studied history, German language, sociology and music. I attended guitar courses but interpreting for me was not enough. After that, I started to attend sound courses in Berlin University, with Carlo, and I was interested in sound art and new media art…

Carlo Korinsky: I have the same background of Abel. After the courses of sound art and media in Berlin we began to work in that field.

DC: What about you, Max?

Max Korynsky: I attended the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf and at the same time history and German language too. I moved to Berlin one year after Abel and Carlo, and we decided to work
together and not to be just brothers with good connections…

AK: Before Max came to Berlin we use to spend the whole day on Skype speaking together.
So we needed to be close!

DC: Abel and Carlo, was important not having regular art studies?

CK: I think so. Mainly because when we made our research we have deeper knowledge in
different fields but art.

DC: And you Max? You worked also as a painter…

MK: I have the most conservative profile. Even if our work is not based on classical art, I think that can be useful to have this kind of cultural approach.

DC: Which was the first time you worked together?

MK: We had the first idea when we saw the final show in Düsseldorf Academy and in Berlin University. We saw some young artists using sound in painting, and other proposing a visualization of sound. We found a way to combine the two parts, “ears&eyes”, for the first exhibition we had together.

DC: So you don’t like labels as “sound art”, “new media”…

MK: Absolutely no! We dislike them. Our work is based on finding the best solution to our questions. We don’t care about categorizations!

CK: It’s not easy to make a category. For instance we use different equipment, as electrical devices. Can we make a new category? I don’t think so!

DC: I see. You use everything as a tool. Is there any difference/specialization among you?

AK: We have different attitudes, for instance I’m the technical man, but this is not important. We like working to the concept together to elaborate all the different parts, sharing or mixing our ideas.

DC: Let’s talk about the work you presented here. What is it based on?

MK: A lot of time ago we began to discuss the look of different scanners moving on the floor…

CK: The idea came from copy machines, but the color light was green and we didn’t like it. So we chose scanners, that make an interesting noise…

MK: We had this kind of work in our mind, but we needed to find a solution on how to manage it. The first idea was using thirty scanners, instead we decide to stack in the wall only thirteen. It has been good not to know the difficulty before, maybe we wouldn’t have done it!

DC: Yesterday you told me that the installation can be seen as a painting…

MK: Sure. There are some frames, against a wall, that are as borders. And audience can see the light moving on the surface. Isn’t this classical painting?

DC: In large sense I think so. But which kind of equipment did you use for it? There are computers, and probably you wrote also some lines of software…

AK: A scanner uses stepper motors to move the lights. We need to understand how it works (there aren’t instruction about it!), find and set up microcontrollers with different drivers. It’s not easy to manage all. You need also to melt some plastic elements to find space for cables and connections.

DC: In this work you chose technology devices we can find in our homes or offices. Is this important for you?

CK: I think in that case just happened. Usually is not the best using this kind of cheap equipment you can’t trust on, since they are not expected to work for a long time…

DC: How usually do you have an idea for a new work?

MK: Each of us has his personal approach and we don’t talk to the other at the beginning. Just after we bring our idea to the group combining sound and visual part, as happened with scanners in this show, in which people can hear the sound of scanners and the lights.

DC: Do you have an architectural approach to your works?

MK: Of course, since we play with space and light, and our installations can be perceived as not different from an environmental work.

AK: We have two kind of work: installation in space with sound and light, as we’ll arrange in June for Berlin Cathedral; wall pieces, as the scanners for Trieste Contemporanea. Definitely both of them dealing with architecture.

DC: And what’s next? Is there any project you don’t have the chance to do yet?

AK: Since a couple of years we have a special idea about the physics of sound, but in Autumn we’ll have the opportunity to create the installation in the Experimenta Biennial in Melbourne…