Graphic Surgery

Graphic Surgery INTERVIEW

 ABOUT

Graphic Surgery is formed by Erris Huigens (1978) and Gysbert Zijlstra (1978).

Over the years the works by Graphic Surgery have been exploring the boundaries of different techniques and genres within their trademark style. The artist duo freely moves from paintings, to murals, videos and installations while maintaining their systematic aesthetics of diagonal lines, geometric planes and a mostly black and white non-colour scheme.

      INTERVIEW BELOW

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,

.

Could you describe who is and what is Graphic Surgery ?
G/ E: Gysbert Zijlstra and Erris Huigens form Graphic Surgery, an artist duo based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

.

How did you two come to work together ?
G/ E: We met in art school, and recognized certain similar style elements in early personal work, and similar interests.

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,

.

Can you name few of your influences and how did they influence you ?
G: There are a lot of elements in life that influence your way of thinking and how it relates to your work ethic. The most interesting about it is how it changes over the course of your path. Biggest influence now is the early abstractionists from the Netherlands and early Russian avant garde artists.
E: Yes, of course there were early influences, like like Basquiat, Haring, Mondriaan and simply visiting museums with my parents. Aside from art and art history main influences are modern architecture and industrial wastelands. Besides that there are many many things that are influential. Too many to mention. Things that are part of daily life.

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,

.

How do you come to work with many different mediums ?
G: One thing about being an artist, is that you continuously experiment with different techniques and materials.
We started out with photography, screen printing and collage, then we started to paint,after that came the aspect of interactive design and now sculpture and assemblagesare the media we want to master better and better and we still have a lot to learn.
E: We are simply always trying to find ways to translate our ideas into works of art. It is not interesting to have one way of working or to simply use one kind of technique. For me it is always a challenge.

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject, scandale project,

.

Most of your work is in black and white (with a few exceptions), why this choice, does black and white have any particular meaning to you ?
G: Color has a specific psychological and optical extra power, for us it is mainly about other contrasts rather than color. Shape, texture, structure, rhythm and dynamic compositions are our main focus.
E: As Gysbert mentions, color is not what we focus on, at this moment. We like most outcomes best in black and white. Focus is on shape and form. Space and negative space. Color is interesting if it adds more depth to a work. The work we are creating at the moment does not need color. But we will probably use color in the future. It just needs to have a purpose.

.

.

How are eroded or abandoned areas/ surfaces important in your work ?
G: We love them, it means they are somehow alive, or the surface tells a story. Again a great contrast with for instance minimal black and white sharp lines or geometrics.
E: They are amazing playgrounds. Whenever we apply our, mostly very minimal, experiments in shape and composition, the surroundings and the painting start a visual dialogue. Clear and simple shapes placed inside places full of industrial heritage, silent chaos and slow destruction make for an almost magical combination.

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,

.

The construction crane is a recurring element throughout your work, could you describe this interest for the city under construction that fascinates you ?
G: For us the crane has more than one meaning. First it is an interesting ’no nonsense’ shape not meant to be beautiful, solely a functional character. Strict geometric junctions to hold a certain weight, and to lift heavy building material. It is a symbol of construction, but also the symbol of places in transformation, where there is a construction crane, there is something changing. Destruction or construction, a city is never finished, so a constant thing there is the crane of development. Let’s say it is mankind’s ultimate power-tool to build the skylines we see everywhere.
E: Yes, the crane, or steel structure is the most important visual reference for us. We have always been fascinated by it and our most recent work consists almost solely of samples, abstractions and references from and to this brutal structure. It stands for our visual identity and signature style.

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,

.

How would you describe your dream city ?
G: Very different than our work, our work could almost be considered dystopian. But the industrial heritage transformed into human scale. Housing projects are nice, a city should be an interesting mix which is completely functional 24 hours a day. Not just offices or just houses, but mixed. A week has more than 40 hours to fill for instance. Nature and green areas are just as essential too.
E: A perfectly balanced mix between humans and infrastructure, culture and nature. Though we love the beauty that comes with certain unbalance.

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,

.

When you put your art in the street landscape, what’s the ambition behind this, I mean your intention maybe.
G: It is mainly for fun, and an act of experimentation on site.
E: As mentioned above, our work creates a dialogue with the city surroundings. It is not just about the classic graffiti point of view of maximun visibility. It is mostly about contrast and at the same time blending with the area and it’s surrounding.

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,

.

Does graffiti have any influence over your work ?
G: Absolutely
E: It used to be infIuential. An abstract, non letter based, form of graffiti is simply one of the many aspects of our body of work. Commissioned or uncommissioned. We like to create work in public space, as much as we like to create work for galleries and cultural institutions. It is all part of one story.

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,

.

What about music ?
G: Music is a huge influence, the search for personal expression in different subcultures you connect with is a big part of your own development.
E: Listening to a lot of music all day, it influences the work. Music is about creating arrangements, sampling and collaging. Our visual work is too.

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,.

Do you have any influence from outside the art world that one wouldn’t suspect ?
G: Skateboarding. It was one of the reasons why I (Gysbert) got involved in the interest for graphics and the need to capture this through photography.
Looking around in a city for nice spots to do some street skating, is similar to looking for different spots to place a tag or a throw-up. You observe a city in a different, creative way.
E: My love & hate relationship with (every day) people. I love to observe people. When me and Gysbert are travelling that is what we mainly do. Observe people in airports, station and in the cities we visit. I think we haven’t found out in what way this influences our work, but eventually we will find out. There must be a human aspect in our work, somewhere…

.

Graphic Surgery, graphics, art, geometric, shape, design, contemporary art, artists,scandale project, scandaleproject,

.

.

Where would you like to see your work exhibited ?
G: In a place where there is no recognizable trace of human existence
E: Interesting places

.

What does a day for you look like ?
G: First coffee. Then it is hard to say, because we do many projects usually.
E: Each day is a different day.

.

.

Do you have any project coming soon ?
G: Fortunately we have a lot of projects at the moment, in fact we are quite occupied finishing one project after another.
E: Happy to have many projects, yes. It ranges from upcoming solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, vinyl artwork for music to site specific installations and wall paintings.

.

G: ” Art is the most meaningful nonsense there is.”
E: ” Art is an essential part of life. Can deeply hate it and absolutely love it.”

.

foto

.

Their Website Instagram Facebook Twitter

.

Photo credits: Graphic Surgery, Peter Cox, Blind Eye Factory, Alessandro Di Benedetto, Sean Glavey, Wytske Averink.

Questions of Fiona Vilmer writer specialized in contemporary art.