As children we live in a constant state of fantasy and irresponsibility; a world where your imagination crosses all laws of time, space and matter – nothing exists yet everything does. The shitty truth sinks in though when your mother calls for bath time. For painter Marcus Scheunemann, however, every day of the week still feels like a re-lived childhood (the secret is in his paintings). I spoke with Scheunemann recently, though nothing more than a computerized Skype voice call which either came from a sunny London (most likely a lie, London is never sunny) or a parallel universe.
Reality Ends Here
ArtParasites: Trick question. What’s real?
Marcus Scheunemann: Bottle collectors, they are real; they don’t act and children are real until a certain age – then the pressures of society weigh on them and they start to act.
APs: What games did you play as a child?
MS: I played a lot with my cousin; she was the same age and like a twin sister. We played a lot at my grandparents' house; a big yard and trees, climbing on trees. She was a witch and I was a magician. We had magical power weapons.
APs: Imagination: It’s something you continue to use with your work.
MS: I try to create this world I had in my mind when I was playing. I am still into fairy tales. I have hard times with responsibility. I had ferrets one time; it was stressful. You can’t decide to just grow up and move with responsibilities .
Scheunemann captures a certain universe for me, where I can be a child for a fleeting moment and be free. I am his captor; his work a portal for my imagination to step through. But it also scares me because I know the real world won’t stop and wait for me.
Imagination is our liberator and our captor. We imagine another positive universe where everything moves backwards and we grow young and irresponsible; the world's worries brightly melting into colored toys and chocolate cereal on a sunny morning. Looking at his paintings, I suddenly miss someone combing my hair.
It Means Nothing, Nothing At All
APs: A lot of your work is open to interpretation. You reference David Lynch, the master of adult fairytales. But David Lynch likes to fuck with our minds. Do you say there is meaning when there is nothing at all?
MS: Always feel a little bit fucked in the end. Whether it is the deepest meaning or no story, who knows. Human beings always want to know what is this, what is that. They have a hard time to accept things as they are. I just want to do something I like to do; I want people to love it or hate it. Even if I had a subject, I would never like to explain it; they should use their imagination.
APs: Has anyone ever found a truthful meaning in your work; things hidden from yourself?
MS: This is exactly the point – I don’t know the subject! Why is it so much about what it means? It’s a visual thing. It’s not always about religion, or politics. I don’t want to say something important to people. Talking, talking and saying nothing.
Childhood is something we constantly try to recreate, sometimes we try to find the path with music, drugs, alcohol or sex; all the things deemed bad in life is what we abuse ourselves with to try and find our lost innocence. And whilst Scheunemann tells me that his work might be fictitious and false, I wonder if this magical time of my youth really did happen, or maybe It was all an imagined memory. In a world where the truth is always questioned, perhaps the real answer I'm looking for lives in a lie.
Article by Tristan Boisvert
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