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Open Borders | Martin Walde and Jens Asthoff  
Martin Walde talks to Jens Asthoff  

It seems to me that your oeuvre is imbued with a characteristic openness. You often set works up as a tightrope walk between dissolving or self-preserving form, they are almost never static in a sculptural sense, more like fields of action, or perhaps stage situations. Do you agree with that, and how would you describe this openness in more detail?

Der Duft der verblühenden Alpenrose    
p. 1  
Enactments p. 1, 2, 5, 6  
Loosing Control p. 1, 2, 5, 6  
Wormcomplex p. 2, 3, 4 I'm not sure about that now. I really do try to create a precise situation. And to that extent it cannot remain open. A good example of that is the installation called Das Parfum Der Duft der verblühenden Alpenrose in the Villa Arson, Nice. This work was about odours, which can be strong triggers for desires, memories and images. Here there is something intangible about them that cannot be defined precisely. My grandfather dreamed of a perfume that caught the fragrance of an alpine rose just before it fades, but he never actually made it. I had that perfume manufactured. Two generations later I wanted to quench that longing only to find out I hadn't got a single step closer. A chance occurrence in the Paris Métro showed me precisely how I might manage to do it: two sixteen-year-olds were sitting there, and one of them was rolling a half-empty transparent plastic bottle two and fro with the tip of his foot. The bottle was filled with pink lemonade, exactly the same colour as the perfume. I liked the way the situation was so casual and ambiguous. Did the bottle belong to the boys, or did they just happen to be playing with it, like a ball? The two of them soon got off the train, the bottle kept rolling around and then stopped somewhere. And the foot touching the bottle really did play a large part in the later exhibition.  
The Invisible Line p. 2, 4  
The Big Perch p. 2, 5  
Tie or Untie p. 2, 3, 4  
Green Gel p. 3  
Shrinking Bottles / Melting Bottles    
p. 3  
Jelly Soap p. 3, 9  
Handmates p. 3, 9  
The Tea Set p. 3  
Fridgerose p. 3  
Clips of Slips p. 6  
NOFF #1 p. 7, 8  
NOFF #2 p. 7, 8  
NOFF #3 p. 7, 8  
NOFF #4 p. 7, 8 The situation you describe reminds me of your Enactments. So what did this installation in Nice look like?  
Siamese Shadow p. 8    
Concoctions p. 8 It was a room lined with solid white polystyrene. So you were bound to make it dirty if you walked on it. And you sink into polystyrene a bit as well. I liked that for this situation: packaging, soft but noisy, just as Polystyrene is. A material that quickly falls apart and creaks up into little white balls. Which leads to another obsessive situation. It was a very precise decision in erms of obsessive potential. And here it goes back o other observations and drawings, to Enactments and Loosing Control. There was this girl on the bus with a bit of polystyrene in her hand and she was rustling around with it. She'd pull a bit off it, hold it to her ear and then put it away in her bag. She did that for three-quarters of an hour. Polystyrene gets to some people like that. But you can never say in advance how much and exactly what it will do for any given person. But simply looking at a particular material can set something off in us and trigger obsessive or ritual behaviour.follow me to the right(>>> continued)follow me to the right  
Liquid Dispenser p. 8  
Jens Asthoff  
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