With Dr. Simone Kraft, Matthias Ulrich and Prof. Karl Müller


Excerpt conversation between Dr. Simone Kraft (http://www.deconarch.com) and Vanja Vukovic about the work “eat your words”:

S.K.: What topics, stories interest you here? And why are they staged in urban space and not in a studio, for instance?

V. V.: Because it is my living environment. I love urbanity, the dynamic, the exchange, the pace, the cultural currents and context that clash at the central station where I have my studio. Urbanity is my environment – without being naive. Of course I also see the dead ends of city planning, the drift and the erosion, and ultimately also the gentrification. The classic Hollywood movies of the 1930s were all completely shot in studios, even if adequate real scenarios were available all around. They used imitations of reality made of papier mâché and Styrofoam. I do it the other way round. I only work outdoors, if possible, I take urban space and turn it into an artistic fake, sometimes with a bit of effort. (Laughs.)

I generally archive all ideas in a sketchbook. 95 percent of them never materialize, but some things do. A scene that I observed in a bar one evening. The bad feeling that I get concerning certain political tendencies. But also the struggle with yourself that lasts your entire life. I see and work based on my own experience and socialisation. Sometimes I would like to swap with someone, reinvent the person who I am, but that is very hard. “Art” always entails a little self-liberation – in the sense of: each project lets you act out another facet of your self.


Request from Prof. Karl Müller/University of Applied Scinces Bielefeld/Germany about the present way of handling in photography:

Photography arrived at the liberal arts with the documenta 6, at the latest, and despite all image databases and the digital revolution, mass media would not be imaginable without it, also in a commercial sense.
Photos exist en masse and snapshots are taken at every opportunity.
Digital cameras and mobile phones increase the flood of images that is hard to escape from. What particular artistic claims remain if everyone can take pictures of everything?
The answer can only be rooted within the artist, in his talent, his experience, and his eye, in his sensibility.
The artistic photo does not distinguish itself due to the price of the camera, a huge number of pixels, or the perfect finish, but due to the one who see

Die Fotografie ist spätestens seit der documenta 6 in der freien Kunst angekommen und lässt sich trotz aller Bilddatenbanken und der digitalen Revolution auch im kommerziellen Sinn aus den Massenmedien nicht wegdenken.
Fotos gibt es en masse und geknipst wird zu jeder Gelegenheit.
Digitalkameras und Handys steigern die Bilderflut, vor der man sich kaum retten kann. Wenn jeder alles fotografieren kann, worin soll dann der besondere künstlerische Anspruch liegen? Dies kann nur in dem Künstler begründet sein, in seinem Talent, seiner Erfahrung und seinem Auge, in seiner Sensibilität. Das künstlerische Foto unterscheidet sich nicht durch den Preis der Kamera, eine enorm hohe Pixelanzahl oder durch das perfekte Finish, sondern durch den, der sieht.


Conversation between Matthias Ulrich and Vanja Vukovic during the exhibition “playing the city 2” in the Kunsthalle Schirn, Frankfurt – Germany

M.U.: Public space is a closely contested realm. Michel de Certeau moreover describes this space as the result of all activities occurring within that space. Why is it important as an artist to participate in these public struggles or activities, and what is there to be gained?

V.V.: Considering who is allowed to shape public space, it is primarily industrial, economical, state and public interests. How do public spaces in our cities differ from one another – the degree of security paired with forfeited creative freedom? How ‘private’ can you be in public spaces and with limited personal scope of activity? Do I have a choice? Do I participate in the ‘whore city’ (not the religious Babylonian, but the ghettoized)? Globalization has a different impact on various urban districts: both advantageous and disadvantageous.
In principle, I am concerned with a science fiction-esque language, assuming the victory over corporate actions by acting in the interest of the private. How much privacy is public and how much public private? A kind of creative engagement emerges, by being able to make decisions and taking responsibility.