EK Interview: Asger Carlsen

His images are grotesque and unconventional, yet still appealing to the eye. He was featured on EK last December and now he’s back again. Check out our interview with Asger Carlsen.

What is your reasoning for the body manipulations, disfigurations, and morphisms? What is your intention for using some features such as the double eyes and the placement of breasts?

I have always said that I didn’t really like my images in the beginning. In fact, I was so unsure that I didn’t really show them to anyone for a whole year. I still wonder about why I have to take the subjects so far, but the attempt to do something new with the photographic idea is really important to me.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

Why have you chosen to focus on the human body? What about it is interesting to you?

It seemed that the human body would have the most unidentified and timeless result compared to any other choice of subject I could think of. A lot of people think it has a sexual or sexist message. If anything, it’s just a long row of contradictions that may or may not appeal to the viewer.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

Why are some images done in black and white while others are in color?

I only make personal work in black and white, but I will sometimes use color for commissions like my series for the magazine, The Journal. I wanted that piece to feel different from my other work.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

Where does your creative inspiration come from?

It’s like a feeling that I always have in me. Most of the time that feeling is pretty out of control and can’t really be used to do anything, but once in a while it becomes very precise and brings you to this new level of realization.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

How do you plan projects in your mind? Do you tend to immerse yourself in one idea and see where it takes you (go with the flow), or do you prefer to have a schedule with different projects laid out beforehand?

I think all ideas need some kind of foundation and structure, but for me the success in making new work is generally impulsive and pretty unplanned. Almost like an accident really – for me the planning comes after creating.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

How do you feel about the future progress of your current style?

I just finished my Hester project. I hope to continue my progress in all modesty.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

Where are most of your images taken?

My last project Wrong had the aesthetic of a found image, but they were actually either old images from my archive or images I shot in very different environments and social contexts. So it became this collection of random images that because of the props applied all of a sudden, had this almost believable narrative. My latest work Hester is mostly done in my studio and is more somewhere between photography and installations or sculptural ideas. It almost makes the photographer non-existent.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

What is “Phony Maloney” about?

Phony Maloney is a small series of installations I did. They where done as a supplement for the wrong show.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

Have you always had a somewhat unconventional streak in terms of your artistic expression? If so, could you give an example of a time when someone seemed to be very affected by your work (past or present), due to shock, curiosity, or enchantment of seeing something so unique?

In many ways it has been this way. Even a straight up photograph can feel complicated depending on visual and aesthetic choices. I guess it’s a very specific sensibility and idea of how the world could look. Some people find that interesting and others not so interesting.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

What are some things you like about living and working in NYC? Dislikes?

New York is great for ambitions and not so great if things don’t happen the way you hoped for.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

Could you describe the environment in which you like to work? How have these preferences changed, if at all, from those you had in the past?

I like my work environment to be simple and with total absence of corporate feel.

art blog - asger carlsen interview - empty kingdom

http://www.asgercarlsen.com/