sex, art and Chinese rolls
Some can consider her as being shocking; some can see her as a revelation. From exhibition to essential sentiment, from imaginative product to the artifact personality. A model that assumed her visibility after the visible-beauty, an author that leads herself to discovery and playful situations. Susanne Junker, founder of stageBACK, organizes but never lets herself being organized, escapes of submissive undertakes and exults the sensations that govern her existence. Susanne Junker…touches a string.
Q: As a former model, you created an inter-nationality of yourself, now visible in precise sides of your work. On a subjective map, where do you locate yourself as an artist?
A: I still consider myself as a model and not a former one. What has changed many years ago is that I also became the author of the model. The fact to be put into a certain drawer and be labeled as a "model" or “ex-model" or a "photographer" or a "galerist" gives me a headache. Unfortunately the art world produces mainly people who can only function properly if they can categorise their opposite immediately. But in times where brilliant art students become web designers and artists curators, everything is possible. This sentence: "she is coming from the fashion world" has been ignored by my "non studied art" ears for many years. I draw my own subjective map with pencils that don’t follow the classic rules.
Q: It seems that photography and exhibition of the self, “constructed” your former persona. Are you at the present time attempting to de-construct, or to re-construct yourself in relation to your new perceptions?
A: My work is very pragmatic. Lacking models made me use myself. I am a white canvas, available all the time at every intimate moment. That is not to beat. The figures and results can be "me" or can be staged to a point that I don’t recognize myself at all. The me within the living human is not important, the result is only what counts. And the path to get there can be "de" and "re" constructed.
Q: Susanne Junker uses self-staged images as a commutable pattern, but for emphasizing individual emotions and existential throbs. Are these egos submissive avatars, sexually-manipulated tools? Behind these scenes, do you actually hide the self sustainable resource that escapes the ideation and lingers its instincts on the creative course?
A: It is all about sex. I think about sex and sexual activity all the time. The visions of what has happened, what will happen, what won’t ever happen. Positive sexuality as well as cruel and nasty sexuality in form of violation and not agreed by me. This is my source and so human. And humanity fascinates me and drives me crazy into disbelieve.
Q: Surpassing the visually digestible image, you praise the aesthetics of ugliness, paying respect to the sincere apologetic, physically-reduced woman. What lies behind these low-resolution feminine characters?
A: What you can see in my images are feelings. What society calls "ugly" doesn’t interest me. Ugly is only a word. But a feeling never cheats you. It is a seventh sense that maniacs made to Catholicism, praying that the human race is not worthy and only redeemed after death. Growing up in Bavaria means that you see the crossed naked guy all the time. And you kneel. Therefore there are submissive characters inside me. And sometimes they show.
Q: Using the body as an artistic expression, few artists in the late 60’s performed interventions over their limbs and complexions, suggesting both evanescent and actuation of human condition. Do you consider your body limits when creating art projects?
A: The ultimate self-portrait is the moment when the bullet hits the brain. The second when the bullet comes out again. A pair. It is fascination. As much as driving of a bridge with 200 km/h. Thus, creating feelings around this is enough for me for now.
Q: Does your work stand as a manifesto for recovering the essentials of human existence or are you suggesting the development of a reversed creation, imprinted with mutations and new regulations?
A: Why are we all here? If you know who can answer this please send him or her my email. I don’t want to suggest anything about something I don’t understand, but my work makes me play with the big question mark and luckily I at least enjoy that.
Q: stageBACK Shanghai is an art space designed for conjunction and exchange of trans-medial concepts. Conceiving this experimental situ brought you also the opportunity to refer your work to an international range of contemporary artistic and meta-cultural acts. How does the integration process function for you, as an artist habitually employing personal image to retrieve her?
A: stageBACK is a white cube but more so it is my concept. Other artists can grab it and play with it on their terms. This is my offer to them. In an ideal situation, a positive exchange happens between me and the artist on a creative and human basis. stageBACK mainly functions as a catapult to spread information about foreign artists living and working in China. This is a niche crowd and new. And new situations make creative since the whole circus isn’t set up yet. And that allows me to showcase my art and mixes this with a space to invite artists who have never been to China.
Q: As a founder of stageBACK, what are your future projects for 2011? Are you planning to launch further activities? What is procedure for selecting participants?
A: stageBACK is located in an old ware house (696 Weihai Lu) that suffers the constant thread of demolition. The leases given out to the artists and galleries last only 12 month and they are to be renewed at the end of every year. I haven’t signed for 2011 yet. But we are hopeful that stageBACK is going to be able to continue its activities at its current location. For 2011 I would welcome to see stageBACK being active outside of China preferably in Germany to in hence the exchange step by step. stageBACK is an art space from an artist for artists. To realize a trip and a residency in Shanghai needs a lot of planning, effort and money. Both parties need to work equally on the ideas, creative direction and finances. Artists who expect a red carpet won’t fit in our profile.
Interview Silvia Pintilie for art-clue magazine