The apparent tension between deconstruction and reconstruction – the former eroding standards, the latter rebuilding them – is familiar also from the discourse around justice, which questions what ought to be deconstructed, as opposed to what ought to be reconstructed to build a more just society (laws, regulations, customs, et cetera). Deconstruction and reconstruction are both answers to the ethical question what ought to be done? This question renews itself pretty much daily, to such a degree that all links to transcendental points of orientation or definitive criteria, outside of our private lives, have been cut off once and for all. While we cannot afford to leave such ethical questions unanswered philosophically, and we can afford even less to leave them unanswered politically, artistic production can pride itself on being less programmatic by simply refusing to deliver a clear message in its acts of reconstruction. It can do so, even at times of greatest danger, or so it seems.Read More
Karma International: For our Storefront Show you created a monumental work from your ballpoint pen series. Could you describe this technique that you developed a few years back and have been exploring ever since?
Markus Oehlen: The technique is actually a monotype; I use a string that is dipped in paint and glued to a board. By using my own bodyweight I press this stamp onto the fabric and literally trample on the fabric in order to transfer the paint onto it. I use several layers, sometimes with the same stamp in order to create an effect of repetition, other times with a different one which creates more of a layering of different motifs reminiscent of doodles.Read More