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Interview with Rainer Fetting by Carolina Zapatero

Rainer Fetting, 2011 Tempelhof, Photo: Anne-Claude Rigo

"I like Johann Sebastian Bach, Jimi Hendrix and rap. and in Berlin I ride my bicycle. I’m not a precursor."

The German painter and sculptor Rainer Fetting , one of the most acclaimed and renowned representatives artist of the generation of “Junge Wilde”, replied kindly to questions in an exclusive interview.

CZ: Do you consider yourself a neo-expressionist artist? And what do you think about the appellative “New Wild” that critics and people on general gave to you among other artists in the 1980s?

RF: No neo-expressionist. No labels. Just a figurative abstract painter.

Rainer Fetting: Kippi (Kippenberger), 1978
100x100 cm, paint/nettel, photo: Kerstin Müller, Ute Oedekoven

CZ: You use strong and frequently acid colors, it is said that you have been influenced above all by Kirchner and Van Gogh, why did you find inspiration in these artists among others?

RF: They are simply the best.

CZ: Your early colorful paintings set you apart from the dismal grey of 80s Berlin and the Minimalism or conceptual art. Why did you move away from those artistic trends?

RF: My work has always been conceptual as well I am not fond of reacting on main-stream art trends.

Rainer Fetting: Martin in der Fabrik, 1978
240x210cm, egg tempera/canvas, photo: Jochen Littkemann

CZ: What do you want to express with the subject and chromatic aggressiveness and the use of acid, fluorescent colors?

RF: Our live and times in the world of the arts.

CZ: Why did you move to New York in 1983 and what impact had it in your posterior work?

RF: Boredom in old, small West Berlin versus challenging New York.

CZ: Male figurative nudes and gay scenes are recurrent subjects in your work. You also seem to be fascinated by the playing of roles, such as the gender roles and also the artist’s role, as in Psychedelic East I, 1990, and in Selbst-Velazquez (Infantin), 1996. What do these depiction represent for you, and what was your intention?

RF: Promotion of my way of life and the art in it.

CZ: Some of your paintings are also devoted to represent the rock music atmosphere of the 1970s. Do you feel as a precursor in the representation of music in contemporary painting and do you feel attached to the New German Wave?

RF: I like Johann Sebastian Bach, Jimi Hendrix and rap. And in Berlin I ride my bicycle. I’m not a precursor.

Rainer Fetting: Pablo, 2010
100x50cm, oil/canvas, photo: Kerstin Müller, Ute Oedekoven

CZ: You returned to Berlin after the wall fell. If at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s you seem to be fascinated with the Berlin Wall, at your return to Berlin in the early 1990s you made a surreal and ironic depiction of the German capital. What did you want to express with these paintings?

RF: I am not a return-type person and I like places when they change, looking forward and moving on.

CZ: At the end of the 1980s you began to devote yourself to the figurative bronze sculpture. Did you find in the sculpture a better way to express yourself in these last years?

RF: I have always been painting and bronze is another powerful media to create.

CZ: In your last paintings you depicted the seascapes of the North Sea, could you describe your last work, the essential changes respect your first paintings and what do you want to transmit with it?

RF: The caravan surfs on.

Rainer Fetting: Meer mit Möwen, 2011
120x220cm, oil/canvas, photo: Kerstin Müller, Ute Oedekoven

CZ: In which direction is your art moving now? What kind of subjects will inspire your work in the future?

RF: Watch and see.

CZ: Have you felt the consequences of the current economic global crisis in the displaying or selling of your art works?

RF: Life goes on!

Rainer Fetting: Auf der Mole, 2011
95x150cm, oil/jute, photo: Kerstin Müller, Ute Oedekoven

Interview by: Carolina Zapatero


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