Various & Gould
Various & Gould
The Berlin based artist duo Various & Gould works in close collaboration since 2005. After studying at the Berlin-Weissensee School of Art (KHB), they both graduated under the tutelage of Prof. Alex Jordan (Grapus collective) in 2010.
What Various & Gould stand for is the art of reinventing themselves every time anew. Their mutual creation is based on the simple but striking formula 1+1=3.
Whilst methods of screen-printing and collage are their speciality, their art can also emerge in a public performance or an installation, as they like crossing borders and don’t stick to a certain medium. Mutual passions that include their love of paper, enthusiasm for accidental beauty in everyday life and art in urban space form the core of their artistic practice.
Various & Gould often deal with socially prominent themes such as work, migration, (sexual) identity, death, religion or the financial crisis, in a playful, intuitive manner. Influenced by (political) poster graphics, Dada and also Pop Art, vivid colors combined with typography and encrypted messages are characteristics for their work.
The Artist Duo Various & Gould
What’s the story behind the artist duo Various & Gould?
Gould: Ten years ago we met at art collage and started working mutually. We are living and loving in Berlin.
Various: Regarding your question of what’s hiding behind our name: Like some other artists we are dismissing to show our faces in the media. Not so much for what’s hidden, but for what’s visible: our ideas, our art.
Various & Gould represent the simple but forceful formula 1+1=3. Is questioning social norms and standards a fundamental part of your art?
Various: Funny! Regarding the equation we were much more thinking of our collaboration as artists. Achieving together, what none of us could have done working solely. But sure, you could also interpret it as a critique of the socially accepted. Plus, math has never been my strong point, haha.
Gould: For sure, our works contain more question marks than exclamation marks. Not because we are following a specific concept, but simply for the fact of having more questions than answers to offer.
Various: Of course it is extremely important to question both one’s personal perspective as well as the social norm. And I am speaking generally here, not merely concerning our art. Looking back, regarding what was considered socially normal in our recent past, we can be very happy that there were people brave enough to question and to act.
Concerning your art your mutual interest in and love of imprinted papers is hard to miss. Which art movements had the greatest impact on you?
Gould: Predominantly, we are making use of the collage and silkscreen technique. Hence, speaking broadly Dadaism, Cubism, Pop Art and Design are definitely counting as influences.
Various: Furthermore, it should be added that certain artists influenced us at certain times. For example, recently we visited exhibitions of Loisue Bourgeois, Jean Tinguely, Gert & Uwe Tobias and Jérôme Zonder that we found very impressive and inspiring.
Process of the giant mural “Face Time” in Berlin
You haven been working closely as an artist duo since 2005. What is Various and what is Gould doing when they are not being creatively active as Various&Gould?
Gould: Hmm, sleeping and eating.
Various. This may sound over-emotive, but art is our life!
“Face Time” is your new series in progress that you have been working on since the end of 2014. What’s the concept behind it?
Various: “Face Time” is mostly about celebrating multiplicity and questioning established beauty ideals.
Gould: Out first series were the Identikit-Montages. Now we are dedicating ourselves to patchwork-identities using fragmented faces. This time it is less strict concerning formalities, but much more ornamented. We are enjoying ourselves, having fun with the faces.
Various: And similar to our Rabotniki-Series we are not concerned with portraying certain people, but creating a character. One, which is not merely pretty, but able to tell a story. They are people we are imagining. However, even though they are fictional they seem much more real to us than other faces we see on TV.
Gould: Regarding the wall painting for example, people started asking us for the man’s name, as he reminded them of the young Obama. But we don’t even have a name because his face is a juxtaposition of many different faces. We wouldn’t even necessarily say that he is male, since the disparate fragments belonged to both female and male origin.
24 Limited Unique Hand Painted Silkscreen Variations “Face Time”
You have just finished the 350 m2 wall painting “Face Time”. How did this project emerge?
Gould: Like ever so often, much was due to chance. An architect’s office contacted us through a mutual acquaintance. The architects had the idea that the wall of a recently built house should be painted. So, we suggested drafts of our “Face Time” series. It instantly caught their fancy and from then on everything went super quickly. The people from the office even helped us paint!
Every silkscreen of the “Face Time” edition is hand-painted and therefore unique. How did the variations come about?
Various: Exactly, every print is different. There is also no permanent colour scale. Shortly before the work on the mural we had just as much as a week of work in the studio simply drawing planes on papers.
Gould: This is a slower process than you would assume. You mix colours and experiment with their composition on the plane. Is there a need for contrast or compensation? Is the colour blue too dominant? Would a darker red fit better than a light petrol? Rhythm proves to be a vital part, here.
Various: After the mural we returned to the paper, added a few accents and finally applied grid points. What comes next is the most exciting, as it quite possible ruins the whole long process. If you don’t pay attention while silk-screening, it takes only seconds to wreck the entire work.
Gould: Funny enough, especially for the wall painting we were super nervous while applying the grid to the colour field. But hey, it worked! The wall painting and the prints are almost created the same way.
Various: haha! So our mural is basically just a huge silk-screen!
Painting Process of the Limited “Face Time” Edition in the Studio of Various & Gould in Berlin
Where do you thing is all of this taking you as artists? What do you expect from future Various & Gould?
Various: We are just as curious as you are!
Gould: As usual, we are having more ideas than time on our hands.
Thanks for the Interview!