Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Conversation: Anatol Knotek

Anatol Knotek (born 1977) is an Austrian artist based in Vienna. Visual and concrete poetry, installation and conceptual art are in the centre of his artistic work, which has been exhibited internationally. He has published work and writings in journals, chapbooks, schoolbooks and anthologies and is a member of the "Austrian Art Association".

mistapes (2014), black ISO tape, textinstallation, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Tell us about yourself, where are you from?
ANATOL KNOTEK: I live in vienna, the beautiful capital of Austria.

How would you describe your work? What materials do you use?
My material is language, context and just a little bit of colour. I play with words, their different possible meanings when manipulating them just a little, and I combine them sometimes with pictures (actually I’d like that you look at them like pictures). I think my work in general is somewhere located between literature and fine arts. 

nothing lasts forever (2014), black card, textinstallation, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

What’s your favourite word? What does it mean and why do you like it?
I think »time« (in German translates to »zeit«) is my favourite word for my art, because it’s full of possibilities. Another word I really like is »serendipity«, maybe because i stumbled across it only by chance…

If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why?
I have already worked with other poets and also sculptors. It turns out to be very prolific most of the time. Actually, I’m quite happy to work alone usually, but maybe that's the secret to collaborating, that you have to step out of your comfort zone, to make something you wouldn't dare to do alone. 

Back to your question: I’d love to work together with a digital artist, to do some textanimations - or with an artist working in a completely different field, just to see what could happen.

I wants to be alone (2014), black vinyl, textinstallation, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

What inspires you?
I’m not so sure. The obvious answer would be words, literature and fine arts, but it’s usually something that I discover or rediscover for myself (no matter if it's old or new). Something that I suddenly see in a new context, from a different point of view… often inspiration comes from a good conversation or during a long walk. Actually walking is quite inspiring for me.

When you’re creating art, do you listen to music or work in silence? If so, what is the soundtrack to your creativity?
It totally depends on what I’m working on. In recent times, I enjoy the silence a lot. When I’m working on my books (not on the creative part, but when I'm physically making them) I like to listen to audio books or mixtapes including dylan, cohen, waits… and English or German speaking singer/songwriters.

What do you think people will take away from seeing your work?
Ideally a smile.

Detail from mistapes (2014), black ISO tape, textinstallation, dimensions variable, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

Where can people find out more about your work?
On my website: where everything is pretty organized in categories, or on my Tumblr blog:

What’s next for you, any big projects coming up?
Nothing really big… mostly some participation projects and collaborations with the Austrian culture institute in Brussels and maybe also in London. I’m also working on new books.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring artist?
Mhm… what can I say, that's not a cliché…? I recently stumbled upon this Marina Abramovic interview which i can totally relate to: be ready to fail, avoid routine and concentrate at one thing at a time! (which is  good advice for any artist I guess).

Installation view of Artist's books (2014), Town Hall Gallery, Copyright courtesy of the artist.

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