Leaving the Mierendorffplatz U-Bahn, I see a car door open and recognize two familiar faces. Seconds later I’m rushed into the back seat; artist Gerard Waskievitz clearing space for my feet and gallerist Michaela Helfrich welcoming me from the passengers seat – and we’re off! This was my first time visiting Waskievitz’s painting tudio; I do regularly see the artist at Michaela Helfrich Galerie and I am always treated like a friend. This time was no different: cakes, donuts and tea – a dream come true for a hungry writer!
APs: You don’t like interviews, this being the very first in English! But you are not shy (happily posing later for the camera). What would you like to talk about?
Gerard Waskievitz: It’s true I don’t like speaking about my art so much. Perhaps we talk about food or wine?
Sounds good to me, as I take another raspberry tart.
The Detail of Emotion
Gerard shows me a small painting he had made of an apartment of cold November. The blues were frosted glass and the grey’s like Berlin’s temporal skies. It was quickly and roughly made with more feeling than detail. As I hold it, the paint flakes off under my thumb. He then shows me the formidable work that came from it. Detail awash with color and energy; my emotion doesn’t change looking from one piece to the next.
All his work was a silent language. I felt immersed by emotions hiding within myself. I was close to tears (no exaggeration); a piece standing above me like a dead parent, appearing in mist to say final words to their beloved child. If one can feel words but not understand them, this one was of those moments.
He moves himself haphazardly through the studio like a young child, carelessly and happily but with a goal. With piles of work around us, he fuses and mumbles over which paintings he would like shown in camera. "If you have something in mind when you paint, it’s boring," he tells me in German. "If my work should say something, that would be too easy."
The Quiet Man Has The Most to Say
He likens himself to a Hausmeister repairing broken things like door knobs; he believes everything you see will come together to make a whole and, when a handle is fixed, it will open a door. There is a certain humbleness in comparing one's self to a janitor.
I felt broken at this point. The pieces of myself scattered; my fingers ash when I tried to pick them up. When he says a work is finished, that is the end. "I watch as my art leaves the door of my studio; I don’t care what is said about it – I can’t change the reality of it."
APs: What Interests you, Gerard?
GW: Humanity and joy; this is what interests me.
My questions supplied me with something unexpected and Waskievitz’s art gave me answers about myself that I never asked. Michaela Helfrich Galerie will be presenting his paintings at the upcoming Berliner Liste Art Fair; I'll be there to see if there are more answers to questions I forgot to ask.
Gerard Waskievitz [Price range of works: 800 – 8,000 Euros]
Article by Tristan Boisvert