In the studio with artist Carlo Golin.
Recently Fletcher visited the studio of artist Carlo Golin to discuss his work, process and mutual love of books. Golin has a rich and seemingly endless collection of historical articles, piles of photo copied images from the 80’s sprawling around found objects, piles of books and of course his own artworks.
Immediately a love of the old amidst an air of the new could be sensed, a hand stretched out to the past as a gesture of homage whilst also grasping something to bring back into the here and now. There is a love of the relentlessness of imagery, the humour of living in a post-historical context and a push back at the seriousness often embodied in western historical images.
It could be perceived that at play in Golin’s work is an enlivenment of the old, a vision told through making ironic parallels with archetypes of the past. Golin twists our perception of time and place with his images, the present is observed by looking back through the past and then into the future. Shown here are works with a humorous and visceral kind of vandalism applied to the surface, pushing back at the authority of historical documentation and breaking the energy of the image out of it’s photographic coffin with emphatic handmade marks.
Carlo discusses his love of process and the importance of making space for chance to see what fate lets in…
J: First of all Carlo, can you talk about your relationship with painting and your more deconstructed approach towards making, how do those different spaces interrelate?
C: When I look at all the work I do, painting, collage, photography, assemblage or installation, composition to me is the link. And this is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, so the daily art of ‘practice’ (Instagram, drawing, looking, reading ) keeps me questioning how to resolve such issues. Something a day is a good thing. No matter what medium/concept is employed, for me it comes down to how best to compose and translate.
J: Can you talk about chance and process in your practice? I feel as though they are very specific or characteristic of a personal outlook….
C: Chance can take the form of trawling through hard rubbish collections or coming across cardboard packaging that’s spat out of a garbage truck flattened and becoming a ready made, to finding some cheap used out of date publication on Dutch and Flemish painting. You work with what you’ve got and then the task becomes quite specific and “one off”, akin to working with a limited pallet. Success rate low, failure rate very high, ‘The insignificant has begun to exist’, which is a reference to Germano Celant- Genoese, an art critic who coined the term “Arte Povera” to describe the 1960s Italian art movement. The materials are everyday, cheap and disposable.
J: Can you discuss the nature of your mark making and the interplay between the photographic or printed surface and the hand painted?
C: It’s a rare occurrence that I like my own mark making. Perhaps it’s the predictability. But I also think it’s like the first time you hear your voice recorded. Cringe making, unbearable. With the ink works I try to ‘trick’ myself into making marks that I wouldn’t normally do. Definitely a Dada concept at work. You work quickly and irrationally. Inking the image blindfolded or using a large brush for small areas, stencils, ripping, whatever it takes to create the accident and then making sense of it if you can. I use black ink to bond the printed image with the hand painted. It visually makes sense. What you have are printed images that have been tampered with by hand to either divert, nullify or recreate the narrative. Hopefully you ‘deepen the game’, as Francis Bacon says.
J: What about the mark makings with the Rembrandt etchings? Does your love of Arnulf Rainer shine through in these?
C: Where the inks can deface, change the course of narrative, I think the crosshatchings provide a veil or web over the imagery. In the case of the Rembrandt crosshatch etchings and drawings, I feel like I’m continuing the work rather than altering if that makes sense. I make an area darker, extend a line etc. Rainer’s line is an electric, violent one so I can’t quite see the connection with the crosshatching, more so with the inks. But Rainer is where I first thought it a legitimate activity to present a photo that had been ‘scribbled on’.
J: Your current work, “FLOAT, COMPLICATED BOUNDARIES” has a similar sense of of looking at unity in clashes, the world crashing into itself to make accidental images / compositions, how do you see your current process reflecting what you have discussed here?
C: I feel like an opportunist when it comes to making art. I can get easily distracted by other artists or by something I notice while walking the dog. But ultimately I think that it’s important that the daily practice of an artist is to be open to anything that promotes interest. You then either act on it or not.